Jackson Hastings is keen to create his own legacy at the Sydney Roosters as he chases James Maloney’s five-eighth spot at Bondi next season.
Considered one of the NRL’s hottest rising stars, Hastings carries one of the foundation club’s most famous surnames with him as he seeks to embark on his own career.
The son of club legend Kevin “Horrie” Hastings, Jackson, 19, joined the Roosters at the start of last year from St George Illawarra amid much fanfare. But also with some confusion over where his career would lead behind representative halves Maloney and Mitchell Pearce.
But Maloney’s move to Cronulla next season has opened up a spot in the halves next to Pearce, and Hastings, whose nine first grade games have come mostly from the bench, has the inside running.
“At the moment I am just looking at this year and trying to do something special at the club,” Hastings told AAP.
“It takes a squad to win a premiership and I am focused on what we have ahead of us. But as for next year, I am going to work really hard in the off season and really put my best foot forward for a spot in the fulltime starting team and hopefully that works for me.
“That is where I see myself, that was the dream when I joined the club and I will be training my backside off to be in that No.6 jersey next year and hopefully that works out.”
Like Pearce, Hastings has had to deal with the challenge that comes with following in the footsteps of a father, former Kangaroo Wayne, who was a revered figure in the code.
“Since the time I have come to the club Mitchell has been a great mentor of mine,” Hastings said.
“Obviously he is a halfback himself and a really good one at that and he sat me aside early on and spoke about our surnames and what it means to be your own man and how to handle the pressures of copping criticism about having your last name.
“I have taken a lot out of what he has said and tried to put it into action.”
Hastings impressed in his first starting spot in the halves with the Roosters in their upset win over the Warriors in round 14 in Auckland with the visitors’ State of Origin stars, including Pearce, missing.
The third placed-Roosters host the fourth-placed Warriors at Allianz Stadium on Sunday in round 19.
“They have freaks all over the park like Shaun Johnson, Ben Matulino and Manu Vatuvei,” Hastings said.
“They are a hard team to defend, they play off the cuff, they are coming off a good win over Melbourne and they will be full of confidence.”
* The Roosters are currently the best defensive team stats wise in the competition, conceding just 2.2 tries, 12.8 points and 3.2 linebreaks per game.
* The Roosters defence should be tested this week against a Warriors team which has scored the equal most tries in the competition (4 per game) and that has also made the second most linebreaks (5.5 per game).
* The Roosters have made the equal most errors this season (12.8 per game) while the Warriors have fared only slightly better averaging 12.3 errors per game.