This week’s Sports 360 Supremo is the one and only Jackson Hastings of Salford Red Devils. Having arrived from The Manly Sea Eagles in mid July, at a team staring the relegation trap door squarely in the face, Hastings’ performances either side of his recent ban have been truly sensational and have played a more than significant role in ensuring the Red Devils will be playing Super League Rugby in 2019……
The form of the Salfordians in the middle part of the season was the perfect recipe for relegation and an early exit from The Challenge Cup only added to the pressure on Coach Ian Watson and his band of not so merry men. Having won only six regular season games, unless they could find a spark, the outcome was inevitable, and in Jackson Hastings, Salford found a raging inferno!
Five wins in his first five outings in a red shirt for the man from Wollongong saw his new team race towards the brink of Super League safety, as he significantly raised the performance levels of those around him. The upturn in form allowed optimism to grow and one eye to be cast towards next season and the possibilities that lay ahead. Unfortunately, as is so often the case with sporting mavericks, the self-destruct button is always semi pressed.
A high shot on Toronto’s Gareth O’Brien towards the end of the game saw Hastings sent to the stands for the next two fixtures. Two fixtures the men from Salford would fail to win. When he returned to the side for last night’s (27th September) game against Toulouse, results from elsewhere in the previous week meant Salford had to win to avoid a murky season end.
Hastings opened the scoring with an eight point try after conjuring up a jink, a spin and a swivel and ten points later from the Red Devils’ newest recruit, the men from Salford had preserved their Super League status for another campaign.
At only 22 years of age and with his whole career ahead of him, the young Australian has the Rugby League World in the palm of his hand and Salford fans will no doubt be hoping at least the next chapter begins with a Willow on his chest.
Jackson Hastings can be anything he wants to be in the game, but for this week, he is The Sports 360 Supremo!!!