Jackson Hastings says he’s relieved to finally move out of his legendary dad’s shadow and create his own legacy at his new NRL home in Manly.
After rising through the ranks to start last season in the No.7 jumper his dad Kevin “Horrie” Hastings made famous at the Roosters, Jackson fell out of favour by July and his contract wasn’t renewed.
It was a stunning fall from grace for the son of a club icon, however Hastings insists there is a silver lining in the move out of the eastern suburbs and across the Spit Bridge.
“Finally, I can brush that off and be my own man. No one can revert back to him now that I’m wearing maroon. I was always my own man, I was always trying to be my own man,” he said.
“With the monkey off the back, I can start being Jackson now.”
It hasn’t been an easy off-season for Hastings, who was without a home until Sea Eagles head honcho Bob Fulton came enquiring about his services late last year.
Until then, he had spent the first half of the summer training with Wyong.
“I done the whole pre-season before Christmas with Wyong and then obviously got the call just before Christmas and signed the deal just after,” Hastings said.
“It was a bit hard to cop at the start, but I admire a lot of people up there and got a lot of respect for people up there, the way they train after they have to work all day.
“(Manly) just wanted to give a young bloke an opportunity. They thought it was too young for me to head overseas, which I never really wanted to do.
“They thought it was a good opportunity for me here. I was stoked when he gave me the call and showed a lot of interest in me. I think Manly cared about me, about my wellbeing.
“That was a big thing for me and my family. I’m stoked I’m here.”
Ankle surgery prevented Hastings from going to the Auckland Nines earlier this month, however he rejoined full training for the first time on Tuesday.
With Blake Green and Daly Cherry-Evans pencilled in as the starting halves, and Api Koroisau at hooker, Hastings said he is unsure how big a role he’s going to play this season.
His best shot could be as the bench utility.
“At the moment I’m comfortable playing wherever and trying to get good at all positions. If I’m that utility, I’m that utility. If they need me here, they need me there,” he said.
“I’m happy with anything. As long as I’m in that 17 and playing good footy for the club.”