Hastings provides Roosters with silver lining
Despite falling to their fourth straight loss to start 2016, there were plenty of positive signs for the Roosters following their 22-20 defeat to the Sea Eagles on Saturday night.
One of their standout players at Allianz Stadium was their halfback Jackson Hastings, who took his game to new heights with regular five-eighth Jayden Nikorima starting from the bench.
The Roosters No.7 had his best game of the season, setting up two tries and kicking for a whopping 383 metres in a performance that will give the side plenty of confidence moving forward.
Hastings said he didn’t have to change his game at all despite being without Nikorima to partner him in the halves, and believes the work he's doing off the field is starting to pay dividends.
"Aidan [Guerra] was really impressive at five-eighth. He really took a lot of pressure of me tonight. He's a great player and a great leader, so my role didn't change that much," Hastings told NRL.com after the game.
"I have the seven on my back. I'm the dominant half when I'm on the field. I've been working hard on my game in the first four weeks but I'm not quite there yet.
"I'm just trying to do the little things right and trying to improve every week to get my game up there. I'm putting a lot of time into my defence, my kicking, my passing and everything it takes to be a good halfback in the NRL.
"I'm just going to training every day and making sure I talk to all the right coaches to make sure I can improve my game."
One of those coaches is NRL Immortal Andrew Johns, who joined the Bondi club at the end of 2015 to work with the Roosters' young halves.
For Hastings, being guided by a legend of the game is a surreal feeling he never thought he'd experience.
"It's unreal. It's a dream come true to work with someone of the calibre of Andrew Johns," the Roosters halfback said.
"There are a lot of people in the NRL who don't get to work with him. Being 20-years-old and in awe of a bloke telling you to do a drill is just incredible.
"He's taught me a lot, and he continues to work hard with me at training by keeping me positive. He's been a real asset to us all."
Hastings remained upbeat about the Roosters' chances in 2016, with his biggest regret being unable to send teammate Shaun Kenny-Dowall out a winner in his 200th NRL game.
"I thought we improved a lot tonight from what we did the first couple of weeks. I thought we played really well and the game was sort of there in the balance, so it's just disappointing to lose," he said.
"We had a bloke on debut [Eloni Vunakece] and we also had SKD's 200th so that makes it a bit more sour, but I'm proud of both those guys and hopefully we can bounce back next week.
"He [Kenny-Dowall] puts his soul into this club every single day and he's done that for 200 games now," Hastings said.
"He's not just a champion player, but he's a champion off the field. It's very disappointing that we couldn't win as a team, but not to win for 'Skidz' on such a big occasion is very disappointing."