Man, Twitter has been hot the past few days. Effin’ piping, to be honest. Fans going at fans, and the blame game has spread to wingers and halves alike. And the rumour mill of a young spine player being dropped hit the Twittersphere and spread like the common cold last night, a rumour that has been confirmed by a few trustworthy sources.
It began when Jackson Hastings’ father and Roosters legend, Kevin Hastings, potentially let the cat of the bag when he responded to a vocal Roosters fan on Twitter who’d been critical of the young half in the past and on occasion saying he doesn’t have the speed to make it in the halves in first grade. Kevin told him:
The rumour mill then went absolutely batshit with word beginning to spread that the half may indeed be dropped for this round versus the Bulldogs, with Matterson to play five-eighth and Connor Watson to get the utility run off the bench. Matterson will also be the designated goalkicker.
This has been all but confirmed by a number of sources.
It could very well be a one-off move to counter the size of the Bulldogs’ pack which starts David Klemmer at lock, and Matterson is a big unit at 6’4″ and 105 kgs. Or it may be something semi-permanent to allow Hastings to get back into form.
Whatever the reason, it’s a move that some fans have been calling for following a 2-8 start to the season, and there’s validity to the calls. His form has been patchy and his long kicking game in particular has been disappointing. And many will point to the bombed try in the Anzac Day clash where he ignored a massive overlap to take it himself, thus bombing a try, as evidence that he might not be ready.
I personally disagree but that’s just a personal opinion; i’ve been on the corner selling Hastings all year and I think it’s awfully early in his career to give up on him as a half and the talent is there — plus he began the season with a quad injury that restricted his goal kicking. His short kicking game is developing nicely and his running game of late has shown glimpses of promise. Yes, even last week. And his goal-kicking has been invaluable of late.
Regardless, the calls were there among many fans thanks to the poor start from the club. If these rumours are true then Jackson is still young enough to bounce back and work on a few areas of his game that he no doubt knows he needs to work on.