NRL outcast's mental 'demons' laid bare

1 month ago 18
PR Distribution

Wests Tigers recruit Jackson Hastings has opened up on the mental "demons" that have plagued his adult life and the fatherless childhood that caused them.

Hastings, 25, has returned to Australia after three years playing in England, and is currently quarantining before joining the Tigers for pre-season next month.

He was a Dragons junior but spent his 47 NRL games at the Roosters then Sea Eagles, but struggled to assimilate at those clubs and left the country after reports of a physical altercation with Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans while on a team trip in 2018.

The halfback has since earned plenty of respect in England over his time at Salford and Wigan, and says he wants to return to the NRL as a leader and someone young people can look up to.

Speaking to Nine's Danny Weidler from quarantine, Hastings opened up in an emotional interview about why he struggled to find a foothold in the NRL last time.

"I'll be honest, I've always been a bit of a loner," Hastings said.

"Always done everything on my own. I was an only child for a long period of time, I was very single-minded and narrow approached towards rugby league.

Jackson Hastings playing for Wigan Warriors. (Getty)

"I still to this day don't have many friends, I've got a very small group of people that I trust, I find it very hard to let people in.

"I fight demons all the time, mate. I have done since I was a kid, I've got deep-seated stuff that I've got to deal with, and still deal with it today.

"Instead of hold onto that… I let it out. I found out as soon as people put their arm around it, it just changed me as a bloke."

Hastings revealed he began seeing a therapist when stuck in lockdown in England.

"When we went through the lockdown in England I went through about 28 sessions in eight weeks," he said.

"To the lady that helped me, we did about 15 over Zoom, and she made me feel so comfortable being able to break down barriers and just be myself.

"When I was a kid I thought it's not cool to cry or show my emotions, and it's finally got to a point where I'm comfortable in my own skin."

Hastings' father, Kevin, is a Roosters legend.

Penrith star's future in doubt over post

The 25-year-old says as a young player trying to crack it in the NRL he was constantly accused of riding his father's coat tails.

But the truth is, he never knew Kevin.

"There's a lot of deep-seated stuff from my childhood. Not having my dad around is one," he said.

"I didn't realise that it affected me until I spoke to this person, she broke down my childhood… I was lucky I had a great childhood. My mum did everything for me, had a great family around me, but I had no father figure.

"It's a weird relationship… my dad was never in my life, he was in America until I was 18.

"I can't even remember the last time I saw him."

For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!

The stars ready to break out at 2021 men's T20 World Cup

Read Entire Article