Sydney Roosters young gun Jackson Hastings is better prepared than most to handle the pressure cooker of an NRL semi-final after Mitchell Pearce failed in his bid to be passed fit.
That's the view of Roosters coach Trent Robinson after it was confirmed that Hastings will again be in the hot seat for Friday's elimination clash with Canterbury.
After being named on Tuesday, halfback Pearce couldn't get through Thursday's captain's run, succumbing to the hamstring he picked up against Brisbane three weeks ago.
Fearing further damage, it was decided to rest Pearce in the hope he would be ready to line up should the Roosters win through to a preliminary final against Brisbane next week.
While Hastings has acquitted himself well during Pearce's three-game absence, Friday's must-win clash with the Bulldogs at Allianz Stadium represents the biggest challenge of his young career.
The former St George Illawarra junior exhibited his prodigious talent in the side's qualifying final loss to Melbourne last week.
With his side needing a bit of magic to get back in the contest, he put in an inch-perfect chip which landed on the chest of winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall for one of the tries of the year.
Robinson said one of the reasons he was so comfortable with resting Pearce was because Hastings had been able to perform so well in his place.
"Jackson's been preparing for longer than most," Robinson said.
"He's been dreaming of big game footy and he's played a lot of big game footy as a young kid.
"He's been preparing as a football player 24 hours a day. It's probably been going on eight or nine years now, since he was a kid.
"He lives and breathes it."
Of Hastings' 15 top-grade appearances this year, only five have been in the No.7 jumper and has spent most of the season coming off the bench at dummy-half in place of hooker Jake Friend.
During the week, Hastings put his performance in the No.7 jersey down to the calming influence of halves partner James Maloney.
Maloney has taken a greater playmaking role since Pearce went down against the Broncos and Hastings said that was rubbing off on him.
"Jimmy's been massive," Hastings said.
"Every game I've played in the halves has obviously been alongside Jimmy.
"He's really taken it upon himself to lead the team around the park and he's taken extra responsibility for me.
"He's made me feel really comfortable and welcome. It's been outstanding."