Hastings not fussed by limited minutes

In his six NRL games this season, rookie Roosters utility Jackson Hastings has failed to accrue two full games worth of time on the field, but don't think for a second he hates it.

 

His 80 minute performance against the Warriors back in Round 14, coincidentally the Tricolours' upcoming opponents, has played a huge part in Hastings's total time on field, having played just a further 76 minutes across his five other appearances.

In fact in the Roosters' Round 15 clash against the Dragons, Hastings sat on the bench and failed to play a single minute.

Considering he had a quarter of the competition chasing his signature when he was last off-contract as a 16-year-old, Hastings said his limited numbers aren't frowned upon, rather they are appreciated, despite the Roosters' 18th man no guarantee to play this weekend.

"It isn't annoying at all. I've said it numerous times to others before, I've come to the club to learn and because of that I'm taking every week as it comes. While getting limited game time may seem frustrating to others, it isn't to me," Hastings told NRL.com.  

"I have no regrets at all. It took me a long time to make up my mind to come here and it's probably the best decision I've ever made so I'm appreciative of the opportunities I've been given and I'm proud to be a Rooster."

"I'd play anywhere in the NRL if I had to; wing, front row or wherever. I'd play anywhere to fit into the team and I'm really grateful to step foot on the field with the boys."

Preferred as second-choice hooker ahead of former Raider Matt McIlwrick, Hastings has earned the praise of the club, according to co-captain Jake Friend.

Being able to see his understudy push forward with zero regrets, Friend sees the 19-year-old's time in first grade as beneficial especially with five-eighth James Maloney and fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck departing at season's end – two positions Hastings is adept at playing.

"It's been tough for him to come on for limited minutes, and one week there he didn't even come on, but he keeps turning up, doing everything and training well," Friend said.

"He's been making the most of whatever time he does get on there so he's doing a good job for us. It's good to see him get some time especially considering he'll probably be starting next year so it's good experience for him now and hopefully he'll get plenty out of it."

Now a permanent fixture in the Roosters first grade squad, Hastings doesn't necessarily have to play to gain the benefits of NRL experience, according to the West Illawarra junior.

"I've learnt so much. There are just so many little things I pick up every day watching how the boys train, watching how they eat and watching how they go about their business," Hastings said. 

"I've really tried to take that and put it into the way I perform when I've had my chances and the way I go about training so when I return to the 20s I can take a real leadership role and show the other young boys that first grade's not too far away."

Video courtesy of roosters.com.au