Jackson Hastings carries one of the Sydney Roosters’ most famous surnames and now he’ll also be asked to bear the weight of the NRL club’s premiership expectations following Mitchell Pearce’s finals-eve hamstring injury.
Hastings stepped up to help guide the Roosters to their 10th successive win after Pearce broke down in the 16th minute of Saturday night’s 12-10 victory over Brisbane at Allianz Stadium.
Alongside James Maloney, Hastings will steer the Roosters over the final two premiership rounds and likely the first week of the final series, following Pearce’s partial hamstring tear.
The 19-year-old son of Roosters legend and former halfback Kevin Hastings was instrumental in the Roosters’ important win after the home side also lost Jared Waerea-Hargreaves early to injury.
It was Hastings’ third win in three games at No.7 for the tricolours and his performance drew praise from two of rugby league’s greatest halfbacks in Peter Sterling and Andrew Johns.
“I thought Jackson Hastings looked really comfortable,” Sterling said on the Nine Network’s Sunday Footy Show.
“I thought he kicked well and another good thing about him is his first instinct is to straighten up and that straight away puts the defence at a little bit of a disadvantage because you can develop a bit of an overlap on that because they can’t slide as well.
“It’s going to be difficult but I thought he was really good last night.”
Johns was also impressed.
“I thought he was really steady and organised the team well,” he said.
Roosters great Brad Fittler said he would like to see Hastings do less directing of traffic and be more threatening.
“He does a lot of pointing, Jackson,” Fittler said.
“He needs to be a danger through the middle. It’s hard to be a danger if you’re pointing the whole time and telling people what to do.”
But Johns questioned Fittler’s call.
“But that’s the modern-day halfback, Freddie … they’re worried about the players around them,” he said.
“I think that (attacking the line) will develop in his game.”