Sydney Roosters novice halves Jackson Hastings and Jayden Nikorima have been told to get “arrogant” as they prepare to be thrown in the deep end in Mitchell Pearce’s absence.
Hastings, 20, and Nikorima, 19, will be asked to steer the Roosters around while Pearce receives treatment for alcohol problems.
With Pearce out for an indefinite period and James Maloney having departed for Cronulla, the reigning minor premiers are suddenly short on experienced playmakers.
While Hastings and Nikorima will play behind one of the biggest and most well respected forward packs in the competition, much of their side’s fate will rest on their young shoulders.
Former Roosters skipper and five-eighth Braith Anasta said the pair needed to back their ability, discard any doubts they have about their inexperience and embrace their inner “arrogance”.
“It’s just about playing with that confidence and even arrogance. They’ve got a lot of experienced forwards in front of them,” Anasta said.
“I think arrogance is a good thing – it shows confidence and belief in yourself. There’s a fine line between being too arrogant but you’ve got to be confident.
“When you’re a young kid you tend to have that, you haven’t been through the rigours of first grade football.”
Anasta has spent the last month training with the Roosters squad in preparation for this weekend’s NRL Auckland Nines where he will make a guest playing appearance.
During that time he has observed Hastings and Nikorima up close and was confident about how they will handle the burden of running the team.
Anasta said he had no question Hastings was ready to guide the side around the park while he said coach Trent Robinson was excited about unleashing Nikorima, who has been recruited from the Brisbane.
Anasta said he expected Hastings, who filled in with aplomb when Pearce was out with a hamstring injury in the back end of last year, to take control of the game and for Nikorima to play his natural running game.
“Jayden is pretty similar to his brother (Broncos utility Kodi) – he’s quick, has good footwork, he’s got great hands and he’s put a bit of weight on so he’s quite strong and he’s got a good build,” Anasta said.
“He’s very quick and in open space he’s sensational.
“I think he’s made for first grade. I think he’ll do an amazing job.”