NRL 2 years ago

Hastings ready if Pearce falls again

  • Hastings ready if Pearce falls again

Sydney Roosters young gun Jackson Hastings has managed to fill Mitchell Pearce's shoes because he's prepared to be his own man and not emulate the NSW playmaker.

Pearce's involvement in Friday's NRL preliminary final with Brisbane remains clouded - he will almost certainly be named by coach Trent Robinson on Tuesday but will have to prove he has overcome a troublesome hamstring injury.

After missing the last five games and a false start last week when he failed to get through the side's final training session, Pearce appears set to make his comeback with a grand final berth on the line.

Robinson refused to rush him back underdone last week because the man who has worn the No.7 in his stead has done so with aplomb.

The side has hardly missed a beat with Hastings, the son of club legend Kevin, sharing the playmaking responsibilities with James Maloney.

It was inevitable that comparisons between Hastings and Pearce were going to be drawn, with Maloney saying the 19-year-old had been a success because he had not tried to measure up to his teammate.

"He's got plenty of confidence and that's helped him step into the occasion and not be overawed," Maloney said.

"I don't know what happened externally but I don't think anyone's asked him to be Mitchell or anything like that. They've asked him to do his role for the side and that's what he's done."

Hastings, 19, produced the best performance of his burgeoning career against Canterbury on Saturday, coming up with two try assists and a number of crucial kicks late in the match.

The second-year player said it was a relief to bounce back after a poor effort in attack against the Storm in the qualifying final.

"Against Melbourne it let us down. Me and Jimmy didn't kick our best, and that was something we addressed during the week," Hastings said.

"No one's perfect, but the closer you can get to being a good last-tackle team ... it's a big part of the game."

Despite playing less than 20 first-grade games, Hastings said his recent success in Pearce's absence also gave him the confidence to overcall the more experienced Maloney.

"When I first came in for my first game, it was really difficult because I grew up watching Jimmy carve up for the Warriors," Hastings said.

"(But) every game I've played I've got more confident in calling the ball and not being worried about if I make a mistake or not."

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