Jackson Hastings ready to face future employers as Salford visit Wigan

Jackson Hastings - key man for Salford
Jackson Hastings - key man for Salford

Jackson Hastings is confident he can prove his eligibility for Great Britain as he prepares to go up against his future employers.

The 23-year-old Salford half-back was born in Wollongong but qualifies for Britain through his Plymouth-born grandmother and is keen to pull on the red, white and blue on the end-of-season tour to New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Two other Australia-born players, Blake Austin (Warrington) and Lachlan Coote (St Helens), who are among his rivals for the Man of Steel award, have been included in Wayne Bennett's GB performance squad after proving their eligibility and Hastings is hoping to follow suit.

"It's a work in process," said Hastings ahead of the Red Devils' Super League qualifying semi-final at Wigan on Friday night. There was a bit of a miscommunication on some little things that I can't go into detail about. There was a bit of a paperwork stuff-up but the club have really helped me out with that. Hopefully it all gets sorted out in the near future, fingers crossed. I'm definitely eligible, I just had to prove it."

In the meantime, Hastings is hoping to cap off a hugely-impressive first full season in Super League with a trip to Old Trafford, where he got a glimpse of what he could expect at this week's play-off launch.

"Looking out there now, I'm getting goose bumps," he said. "I really want to get here and have a crack. "It would be unbelievable. That's what you work so hard for with your team-mates throughout pre-season and throughout the year. Just being able to walk around today and have a look at the field, it's pretty amazing."

Hastings will be a Wigan player in 2020 but there will be no conflict of interests on Friday night as he remains determined to end his stint with Salford on a high.

"I'm a Salford player this year and that's all that matters," he said. "Obviously what happens next year, I'll leave until next year. I'm just taking every day as it comes. I'm really proud of what this playing group at Salford has been able to achieve this year but we've one hell of a chance to get here on October 12th and that's our main goal."

Wigan boss Adrian Lam, who was aware of Hastings as a youngster at Sydney Roosters and tried to take him to the Warriors 12 months ago, is not expecting any favours from the player.

"I talk to Jackson every week and I know he feels Salford have been great to him and he owes the club and the supporters," Lam said. "He's not going to be thinking about Wigan at all."

Hastings has helped the Red Devils put together a club record eight-match winning run that enabled them to pip Warrington to a third-place finish.

Wigan have won their last seven and Lam believes there is more to come from the reigning champions.

"I think we're playing seven out of 10 at the moment," he said. "We can improve one or two levels over the next month hopefully. That's the challenge to the team."

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