Sydney Roosters’ rookie halves combination Jackson Hastings and Jayden Nikorima are the NRL’s odd couple, according to coach Trent Robinson.
But the premiership-winning mentor can’t hide his excitement about their NRL scrumbase debut against South Sydney in the NRL’s opening round.
Good mates Hastings and Nikorima combined impressively in the Roosters’ big World Club Series win over St Helens last month.
Robinson has challenged the duo to now prove themselves in the NRL, starting with Sunday’s Allianz Stadium encounter.
“Obviously Jackson was pretty clear he was going to play a role in the halves (this year), (and) we knew Jayden was a top quality player,” Robinson said.
But Jayden proved that he was a top quality player that was ready for the NRL (against St Helens).
“We thought that maybe we would nurse him through a season, in and out of the team and coming off the bench but the kid is a confident kid and he needs to prove he is ready for the NRL.
“It was a good start over a St Helens and now it is time for the NRL, a tougher test here against Souths. But it is a good combination and it is a good balance in the way they both play.”
The Roosters once boasted on the of the NRL’ most experienced halves pairings in new Cronulla pivot James Maloney and Mitchell Pearce, who is sidelined due to disciplinary action.
The onus is now on one of the NRL’s least experienced combinations in Hastings and Nikorima to spark the Roosters attack.
Hastings has played 19 NRL games, while Nikorima is yet to debut.
The duo’s difference in their approach to football and life and their contrasting playing styles is their strength, Robinson believes.
“I think it adds to it,” he said.
“One is a New South Welshman, one is a Queenslander, one is a footy nerd since he was a kid, the other is a bit of a cool cat who doesn’t get too nervous.
“So there is a really good balance there in how they are going to combine and the pressure cooker comes in round one against Souths.
“It is exciting for our club to see those guys named.”