It’s taken a move halfway around the world but playing in the English Super League has changed Jackson Hastings.
You can say it was the wake-up call he needed.
The 23-year-old was on the outer at Manly. Bust-ups with Daly Cherry-Evans and Trent Barrett had him forced to reserve grade, and a public altercation with Cherry-Evans was the final straw in his time at Brookvale.
This came after he’d previously fallen out with the senior playing group at the Roosters in 2016.
Now a fan-favourite at Salford, Hastings has found a new lease on life and football.
"It was a fresh start, something I needed," Hastings admits.
"I had a few incidents back at home that got blown out of proportion and my footy was getting a bit stale."
It’s clear moving to the other side of the world and out of his comfort zone has helped Hastings mature.
He’s no longer the precocious talent who was seen as ‘arrogant’ or ‘difficult’ when he first came through the Roosters ranks. He knows how close he came to losing his career forever.
“I’ve taken full responsibility for my actions and for what happened, and I’ve never shied away from that,” he says.
“There are a lot of things that got written and printed that were lies and that my family weren’t happy about. But as a human being and as an athlete you’ve just got to cop that on the chin.
“I think I did that, and my response was to come over here and do the best I could. That’s nearly a whole year away now so I’m proud to say I’ve fully moved on and it doesn’t haunt me. I’ve just become a better version of what I was.”
- John Davidson
To read more, pick up your Big League from all good newsagents, the ground or magsonline.com.au/big-league.