Hastings adamant best will come at Knights

November 23, 2022 02:00 PM AEDT | By AAPNEWS
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A determined Jackson Hastings insists his best football is ahead of him at Newcastle as he prepares to play at his sixth club in nine years across both sides of the globe.

Hastings arrived at Newcastle this week, days after the swap deal for him to leave wooden-spooners Wests Tigers in return for the Knights' David Klemmer was complete.

At Newcastle, the playmaker will be charged with helping turn around a club that lacked any fluidity in its spine last season and finished 15th with only the Tigers having a worse attack.

Hastings is the first to admit he has "lived about 1000 lives" in an emotional past eight years, but is adamant at age 26 he will reach his prime at the Knights after signing a three-season deal.

"I am still learning," Hastings said. 

"I remember Joey (Andrew Johns) telling me when I was 18 the game doesn't slow down properly for you until you are about 27 or 28. 

"I don't think I will hit my peak as a halfback until age 28 or 30. With sports science these days, 30 isn't even old."

Hastings is under no illusions about the tough turnaround required at Newcastle.

"I have played two grand finals now (in England), been in some successful sides in the NRL," he said. 

"I know what it is like to be at the back end of the year and up the top there competing for trophies. 

"It's an itch you need to scratch every year - watching the finals isn't good enough. It's where we want to get this club to."

Hastings could form part of a completely new-look Knights halves combination, with Newcastle weighing up moving Kalyn Ponga to five-eighth to partner him.

Johns, currently working with the club as a consultant, is among those wanting the Knights to shift Ponga out of the No.1 jersey.

Regardless, Hastings is aware that whatever combination he forms with Ponga will be crucial.

"Everyone knows what Kalyn can do," he said. 

"Knowing I get to play with someone of that calibre will be amazing for my game. 

"He is a massive threat with the football and my job is to get him the ball in open space and let him do his thing."


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