JACKSON Hastings’ impact will be felt at Salford for a long time even if he bites the hand that gave him a chance – in the form of Joey Lussick.
For if it was not for the ‘absolute competitor’ and boss Ian Watson exchanging clips before he even arrived in Super League, the hooker would not have been signed.
And Lussick can also have a chance of linking up with Hastings again for England as he has a UK passport.
Tonight sees Hastings return to the place he made himself a hero with Wigan after helping the Red Devils to the Grand Final as he became Steve Prescott Man Of Steel.
However, his former boss has revealed how he tearfully told him he was leaving, only came after the SECOND time of asking and his role in helping Lussick to the AJ Bell Stadium – after mum Megan Harrod was convinced.
Watson said: “We actually made an approach for Jackson at the end of 2017 and were told, ‘No chance.’
“He signed for Manly Sea Eagles and his agent told us he’s be dead-set staying in the NRL as he would be a star there and he wanted to focus on that.
“But after he was in trouble again about a year later, we went back and approached him. Jackson was actually unsure and I spoke to Megan for probably a good four weeks and then him on the back of that.
“I told him it may be good for him to come over and rebuild his career but he’d been brought up in Australia and loves his dogs! I convinced him it would be a good experience to come and as it proved, it was the right thing for him to do.
“Jacko and I were exchanging clips, both of us and the team he was playing for, Blacktown Workers, and the more I saw, the more I was impressed by their hooker. The more I saw, the more Joey came into the equation.
“We needed one and Jackson said he could get him here. Jacko’s mum actually told us Joey has a UK passport, meaning he would not need a visa and we could get him. I didn’t know he one.”
Hastings’ preparations were hit by a minor car accident as he prepares to step out again at Salford, accompanied by mascot Ava Blease, the daughter of Red Devils’ director of rugby Ian, who helped fix his central heating after he first moved from Australia!
But Watson knows the 24-year-old will spare no sympathy once he is out on the field, just seeing him play video games showed how competitive he is.
Watson added: “He’s an absolute competitor who just wants to play rugby league.
“He just wants to compete, whether that’s playing touch rugby, playing football or playing on the PlayStation.
“Jacko came and spoke to me about it and was upset. He told me how much he loved it at Salford but at that moment in time, to get where he wants to get it was best to move.
“It’s going to be interesting coaching against him and a good challenge. I’m looking forward to it.”
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