Transfer Market: Hastings’ arrival to shake up Tigers
Balmain great Garry Jack believes Jackson Hastings' arrival at the Wests Tigers will force the club's playmakers to find their best or risk losing their place in Michael Maguire's side.
Jack, who played 230 games for Balmain, praised the Concord club for pursuing Hastings, the Super League's 2019 Man of Steel winner.
But more than being an astute signing, Jack told The Daily Telegraph the addition of Hastings, who has inked a two-year deal for season 2022, would create competition in key positions.
"I think he has matured a lot as a player, he can run a game, he can kick well and he can goals kick too, I think he will be an excellent buy for the club," Jack said.
"It gives you more competition and more pressure on guys to perform, that what it does.
"If people someone like [Adam] Doueihi doesn't aim up or if [Luke] Brooks doesn't aim up at six or seven, you give Hastings a chance and he'll be straight in there.
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"That competition is great for the team. I'm sure he starts on the bench but once he gets a run they'll see how much value he adds to the team."
Hastings is being touted as a utility or ball playing forward but that it hasn't stopped the speculation around halfback Luke Brooks' future at the club.
Brooks, who club legend Benji Marshall believes should be playing at five-eighth, reaffirmed his commitment to the Tigers on Monday.
"I want to see the club be successful and I want to be part of that success, I have a contract until 2023 so I don't think I will be going anywhere anytime soon," Brooks said.
"I think I'm a halfback but people will obviously have their opinions, because of my running game people might think I'm a six but for now I'm a halfback and that's my job."
While Hastings might put pressure on Maguire's current combination of Brooks and Doueihi, Jack believes the new halves duo is improving with each game.
"I'm really impressed with Doueihi at six in particular, he's showing himself to be a very good player," Jack said.
"Outside of Daine Laurie at the back, I think Doueihi has been our best player all season. His kicking game is solid and his passing game is excellent too."
After a rocky start to his NRL career at the Sydney Roosters and then Manly, Hastings left Australia in 2018 for the Super League and joined Salford, where Jacks also played 13 games. There, Hastings helped the Devils to a grand final appearance. Hastings is under contract at Wigan Warriors until the end of season 2021 and is committed to seeing out the deal.
With Hastings unlikely to arrive this season, the Tigers still have two places fill in their 2021 roster.
The Daily Telegraph understands the club is seeking to add another half and an outside back to its playing stocks.
While the club is open to promoting a player into the top 30, it's understood Penrith's Brent Naden is on the Tigers recruitment radar. Naden, who is off contract at the end of season 2021, is also a target at Canterbury.
Originally published as Transfer Market: Hastings' arrival to shake up Tigers