Former Man of Steel Jackson Hastings opens up on latest injury setback which left him in tears

Ben Olawumi
Jackson Hastings

Jackson Hastings was visibly distraught having picked up a second season-ending injury in as many years - Alamy

Jackson Hastings has opened up on the gruesome ankle injury he sustained in the NRL finals, admitting it left him in tears, hurting him mentally just as much – if not more – as physical.

The four-time Great Britain international snapped his fibula in the first half against the Canberra Raiders, and tried to play on, but soon found he physically couldn’t.

His Newcastle Knights team-mates battled on to a 30-28 win without him, requiring golden point to do so, before losing out to the New Zealand Warriors six days later in the quarter-finals.

To add insult to injury, Hastings’ season was cut short by pretty much the same injury for the second year running, previously having a plate put in the same leg after being hampered in 2022 while on the books of the Wests Tigers.

Jackson Hastings opens up on latest injury setback

The half-back’s ankle injury in action for Wests was picked up at the end of July, meaning he had recovered in time for the start of the NRL season this year.

It’s not yet clear how long his rehab will take this time around, but speaking to ‘The Magic Sponge Podcast‘ earlier this week, he evidenced how fierce a competitor he is as he talked through the incident which saw the recurrence happen.

He explained: “I just got a stray knee flush on top of my plate where this hard fibreglass guard was, and that went one way and my bone went the other way.

“I made a massive fibreglass guard, literally my fault, I didn’t want it too big so it turned into a bit of a point and stopped right on top of my scar.

“When I watched the video back, if you watch my ankle flick, you’ll see a massive pad that goes with it. It looks like my legs snapping, and it’s actually the pad because of how thick and hard it was.

“I just felt like ‘I’m gonna stay out there, it’s a semi, I’m playing.’ I think we kicked it out on the full or something, so we had to defend a good ball set.

Lachlan Fitzgibbon‘s shoulder was hanging on, his inside shoulder, my right leg was broken. I looked at him and said, ‘if they run shape here, what are we gonna do?’

“We said to Bradman (Best), ‘Whatever you do mate, just jam. Just collapse in and make the tackle.'”

Former Man of Steel Hastings left in tears by second ankle break in as many years

TV cameras in the Knights’ dressing room at the McDonald Jones Stadium during the clash with Canberra showed former Wigan Warriors and Salford Red Devils ace Hastings limping around trying to find a way to get back out and play through the pain.

The 27-year-old – crowned the Super League Man of Steel in 2019 as he helped Salford into the Super League Grand Final – admits that was because he knew then how bad the injury could be.

Talking through the process of getting it looked at post-game, he continued: “Once I knew I couldn’t run, I knew it was broken and I knew it was gone, but again I didn’t want to admit it, so after the game, we won and I said to the doctor, ‘I’m not scanning it. I’m just gonna train next week, I’m gonna play next week and that is it.’

“The physio checked it out, put my leg in a movement and I just screamed. I threw my head back, smacked it on the bed, and then that’s when they were like, ‘We need to scan this mate, you’ve been a bit of an idiot.’

“I didn’t want to admit to the fact that it had happened again, so I was doing everything in my power not to. One x-ray, she pointed it out and said, ‘I’m really sorry to tell you that you’ve got a massive break above where your initial plate is.’

I didn’t cry with any of my other injuries, I just took it in my stride and I was mentally pretty good with it all. The moment I got in my car after that scan, that one hurt, it really, really hurt.

“I realised that I wasn’t going to have to get the same operation, I was going to have to get the same operation on steroids essentially, just way bigger. It’s led me to where I’m sitting right now.”

READ NEXT: Every Super League club’s quota spots confirmed for 2024 so far, including new NRL recruits