Jackson Hastings | “I can get myself up for a game of ping-pong”

It was at the ripe old age of four that Jackson Hastings first set off to follow in his father, Kevin’s, footsteps to become a professional rugby league player, and, he still keeps, back home, a photograph of himself in a Sydney City Roosters’ jersey – sleeping with a rugby ball rather than a teddy bear – to prove it. He was not allowed to play the game until he was eight, however, because his father, knowing the sheer physicality of the game, was concerned about the slightness of Jackson’s build.
Instead therefore, he filled his time, and appetite for sport, by playing football, for which he is now most grateful as he believes it helped him, considerably, to develop his kicking game, when he did eventually take up rugby league.
Although he never had the opportunity to witness his father playing, the fact that Kevin was such an integral part, as half back, of the Roosters, it is hardly surprising that Jackson grew up watching their renowned Championship winning side of 2002, and their Grand Final winning team of 2003 and 2004, containing, of course, Salford born and future Red Devils’ captain, Adrian Morley.
Most remarkably, the junior team which he joined was another Red Devils side – Wests Illawarra Red Devils – which proved to be an extremely successful move for him with his age group winning eleven competitions in a row, and he stayed with them for a full ten seasons, right through to the age of eighteen. Being a goal kicker, he had a head start when it came to his being awarded the year’s Leading Points Scorer Award, alongside twice being recognised as Man of the Match, in Grand Finals.
“I’ve been extremely lucky to have played in some really good teams, throughout my career, but there have been one or two lean years when we have struggled, and those make you realise that it isn’t as easy as you could start to believe it was.”
At the age of sixteen, he was offered a full-time contract with his childhood idols, Sydney City Roosters, which, as will be appreciated, was a massive step up into the professional environment, but, most impressively, by the age of eighteen he was making a winning NRL debut against South Sydney, in the final game of the season.
“We had to win that game to win the Minor Premiership. I came off the bench and played hooker, to face the likes of Greg Inglis, Sam Burgess, and Isaac Luke. It is something I shall never forget. I was also fortunate enough to win the same trophy in my final year with them, too.”
Sydney Roosters, as they are now named, rather like Super League’s own Wigan Warriors, has a special aura about them which singles them out from the remainder of the pack. Having been part of that environment, Jackson puts this down to the fact that they were one of the original clubs formed, with a considerable amount of history behind them including the winning of sixteen cups, being financially well off which means they can attract top class players, and consequently always fighting to win Premierships.
Four, highly successful seasons with the Roosters came to an end, at the age of twenty-one with a move across to Manly, in 2016, before coming half way round the globe to join us here at the A J Bell. Having enjoyed the luxuries afforded by clubs in the NRL, Jackson is completely open in his assessment of Salford, the club with whom his allegiance now lies.
“Comparing Salford with a team like the Roosters, with all their financial power and clout, would be difficult, but in comparison with Manly it would be more than favourable, and the fans especially are absolutely great, here.”
He was, from the very outset, fully aware of the importance to the Red Devils of the seven fixtures which make up the end of season competition known as the Qualifiers, but was never even remotely daunted about it.
“I always want to win every game I take part in; it doesn’t matter whether it’s for promotion, to avoid relegation, to win a trophy, or just a run-of-the-mill league game, I always want to win. I grew up having to win every single game of whatever. Be it out on the field or on the play-station, I have to win. I just have that mentality of ‘win at all costs’ so to me it was just so much water off a duck’s back being involved in the Qualifiers.
“I keow it really meant a lot in the grand scheme of things, but as far as getting up for it was concerned, I can get up for a game of ping pong. I am just wanting to win every single match that comes along.
“Unfortunately, I missed two games which were extremely hard to watch, though I was super impressed with how the boys played and conducted themselves. By the time the Toulouse game came along I was jumping out of my skin to be back in the side and aiming to finish the season on a high note, which we did.
“I would like to thank the fans, teammates and club for the great nine weeks.”

Jackson Hastings | “It’s an exciting time”

Earlier today Salford Red Devils confirmed the signing of Australian halfback Jackson Hastings for the remainder of the season and we caught up with the 22-year-old ahead of his move to the The Salford Stadium in an exclusive interview.
Hastings said: “I absolutely can’t wait to get over and get stuck into training, meet the boys, coaching staff and the wonderful fans – it’s an exciting time.
“I’m looking forward to keeping this Club where it belongs and that is in the Betfred Super League.
“But, first and foremost, my first goal is to rip in to training and show my new teammates and coaches that I’m a winner by training as hard as I can, preparing as well as I can and taking each game as it comes.”

“I know quite a bit about the Betfred Super League as I’m a huge Rugby League fan in general and always get up early to watch the televised games from abroad.
“I really respect and admire how good some of the players that the competition has produced are and I’m lucky I’ll now get the chance to mingle and play against them.”
Hastings will look to add another dimension to the Red Devils attack in the final few months of the 2018 campaign and is a vocal and creative halfback.
“I think my communication on the field has always been a natural strong point in my game. If you’re playing at 6, 7, 9 or 1 you are the voice of the team and need to be good at that,” Hastings said.
He added: “Competitiveness is something I base my game around and I pride myself on competing on every play no matter the result and doing all that I can to ensure the team gets the result we are looking for.
“The last major part would be my passing and kicking game. It’s something I work hard on and love seeing my team mates score or create opportunities off a nicely weighted kick or a nice sharp pass.
“I’ll do my best to bring this and more to the Club!”

The 22-year-old has played in England before with the Roosters and has already had a taste of life in around the Salford and Manchester area.
Hastings said: “I’ve been over before with my most recent trip coming three years ago with Sydney Roosters when we faced St Helens in the World Club Challenge series.
“I loved Manchester, especially the shopping. England is a great part of the world and I’m lucky to have family from and still living there at the moment.
“I have a lot of mates from rival clubs too, so hopefully I get the opportunity to get one up on them.”
The Australian halfback has impressed at both Sydney Roosters and Manly Sea Eagles and admits he has taken inspiration from two legends of the Betfred Super League.
Hastings said: “From an English standpoint I loved Kevin Sinfield and Danny McGuire as a kid. Leeds were a dominate team and were constantly on TV in Australia.
“As those two played similar positions to me I admired how good those two were and obviously Danny still to this day has all the tricks in the book.
“The big one was Johnathan Thurston. Everything that he did and still brings to the table is something I truly admire and respect.
“He’s a once in a generation player and I still can’t believe I’ll get to say I played against him.
“I can’t wait to get over and join the Salford Red Devils.”


Salford win Battle for Hastings

Salford Red Devils have swooped to sign Aussie half-back star Jackson Hastings from the NRL, initially for the remainder of the season.
Hastings is awaiting final visa clearance and will link up with the Red Devils for the vital close of the campaign.
Salford’s Director of Rugby Ian Blease said: “Jackson is a signing that should rightly excite everybody in the city. He is an exciting match-winner and will slot into our set-up perfectly at this crucial time.
“A huge amount of hard-work behind the scenes has gone into making this happen over the past few months and we are delighted to get it over the line. Opportunities to sign players this talented do not come along too often and it speaks volumes that we have beaten off some serious competition for his signature.
“I’d like to thank the player’s agent for all his help as well as Marwan Koukash who has honoured his pledge to support the club with the acquisition of a player.”
22-year-old Hastings already has 47 NRL appearances to his name for the Sydney Roosters and Manly Sea Eagles and has bagged 81 points in the process.
Salford Red Devils expect the player will join them at the The Salford Stadium as soon as his paperwork is complete in Australia.
Head Coach Ian Watson said: “He’s a huge talent with huge potential. The fact Trent Robinson let Maloney leave the Roosters so Jackson could partner Mitchell Pearce shows his level of quality.
“Obviously there were numerous Super League clubs chasing him and we are delighted he has chosen to come to us. Hopefully together we can restart Jackson’s first grade career
“He has been the guy we have been missing in terms of organisation and kicking game. He’s looking forward to getting over here and getting stuck in, concluded Watson.
Ian Blease continued, “It’s been a tough transitional year for the Club and we continue to need all the support we can get from our fans and get them to bring a friend along to the game on Friday against Castleford Tigers (kick off 8pm, The Salford Stadium). It is vital we stay in Super League this year and the signing of Jackson Hastings shows that we are very serious about this aim.”

Jack Littlejohn – “I’ve only heard good things about the Club”

Yesterday the Red Devils confirmed the signing of half-back Jack Littejohn and the Australian has given his initial thoughts on signing for Salford.
Littlejohn, who arrives on Monday morning, said: “I’m really looking forward to getting started and meeting everyone around the place. I’ve only heard good things about the Club and the fans so I can’t wait.
“I know a little bit about Super League. I love my footy on TV back home so I’ll watch it when I can I’ve see a few games and I have a couple of mates who play over here so it’s always good to watch them.
“Obviously, I played a bit with Lama Tasi at the Sydney Roosters and also played alongside big Luke Burgess at Manly in 2015 so it’ll be good to see a few familiar faces when I arrive.
“I think I was ready for a change and excited about starting a new challenge so what bigger challenge is there than moving to the other side of the world to play footy.
“Like I said I can’t wait to get started with Salford and meet the all my teammates, the staff and the fans.”
To see what Salford Red Devils Head Coach Ian Watson had to say on the signing click here or to read Salford Red Devils CEO Ian Blease’s thoughts on the signing click here.

Remember to see Jack Littejohn in action in 2018 you can purchase your Salford Red Devils Season Ticket. For a full list of Season Ticket prices click here, for a breakdown of each tickets Direct Debit payment scheme click here. Visit the Club Ticket Office, phone 0161 786 1570 or click to buy online here. Online purchases can’t be done via Direct Debit.


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