Jackson Hastings shed a tear this week reflecting on his return to the NRL and was in tears again by full-time on Monday after his own personal redemption story was close to complete.
Hastings celebrated his 50th NRL match in style with a 79th minute field goal that delivered the Wests Tigers their first win of the season.
He had a look on the big screen to make sure it got the distance before he turned around, pointed to his mum in the eastern grandstand and began to take off downfield.
His mother, Megan, has been by his side his entire journey, from being exiled in the NRL in his first stint to his return from Super League this year.
It was part of the reason why he broke down after his teammates flocked him, the other half more relief for the side after weeks of criticism for their slow start to the season.
“I’m a massive mumma’s boy and she didn’t get to see me live for three years and I achieved so much [overseas]," Hastings said.
“I cried, whenever something good like that happens and knowing mum is there it means the world to me.
“When I kicked it I just started pointing at her… it was just a good feeling. I spotted her straight away in the crowd with her blonde, curly hair."
Match Highlights: Eels v Wests Tigers
Hastings’ first win back in the NRL since his Super League stint was worth the wait but paints a different side to the Wests Tigers playmaker, an ever-maturing 26-year-old who is supporting his family and ill grandfather.
Hastings moved back in with his mother and sisters when he arrived back in Australia and said it was his reunion with his family that had him more settled for his second stint in the NRL.
“It’s good to be able to give back and help Mum out financially where I can, I couldn’t have been raised by a better mother,” he said.
“The thing about my family is we fight like cats and dogs but when push comes to shove we love each other deeply.
“The footy has been unbelievable, coming back to the NRL, but being surrounded by family you take that for granted.
“Being able to celebrate Christmas, birthday and Easter with my loved ones, it means more than kicking that field goal.”