Man of Steel Jackson Hastings wants team success

Wigan half-back Jackson Hastings hasn’t thought about defending his Man of Steel award and instead wants to win a Super League title.

Hastings, 24, capped a remarkable season at Salford by leading them to the Grand Final and being crowned the best player in the competition, having seen off Great Britain team-mate Blake Austin in the run-in.

Although the Red Devils’ run to Old Trafford was unlikely, expectations are much different at Wigan, and Hastings is determined to add a Grand Final winners ring to his personal gong.

He said: “I’ve not thought about winning Man of Steel again. All I want to do is play well for Wigan and win games, and if you play well and win games, you’re obviously in with a chance.

“At the end of the day, it’s a team sport. The Man of Steel is the glamour award of our game and I’m truly honoured to have won it, but I want to win the competition.

“If I won it again it would be tremendous, but the competition is something I’m really chasing.”

The former Sydney Roosters and Manly star was speaking at the launch event for the 2020 Man of Steel, which will once again be judged by a panel chaired by rugby league legend Ellery Hanley.

Leeds women’s head coach Lois Forsell has joined the panel, becoming the first female to do so, along with Warrington legend Ben Westwood, who retired at the end of last season.

Hastings said: “It’s the most special award you can win as an individual in our sport, so the whole night was special.

“The whole lead up was special. To have my family fly over from Australia was a very proud moment for myself, and having I think it must have been 500 Salford supporters at the top of the arena screaming my name when I won it.

“To walk down and shake Ellery’s hand and for him to whisper some encouraging words in my ear and to hold the trophy up and to go home and realise I’d achieve it all in all was one of those things you dream of, and one of those things I’ll never ever forget.”

It proved to be a busy autumn for Hastings, who after swooping for the Man of Steel and appearing in the Grand Final, would go on the Great Britain tour.

In January, he linked up with new club Wigan – but not before some speculation that he wanted to back out of the deal, which proved unfounded.

He added: “I actually turned Wigan down last season to stay at Salford, which showed how much the club meant to me.

“To be able to play for Wigan is special. They’re one of the premier clubs in England and the world too, so with a different club comes different challenges, and it’s something I’m really looking forward to.”

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