England coach Shaun Wane is heading down under to watch the NRL Magic Round and Wests Tigers star Jackson Hastings is on his radar ahead of the World Cup at the end of the year.
The Magic Round will take place at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium from 13th to 15th May. Hastings will be in action when the Wests Tigers take on the Cowboys on the Sunday.
However he will not be the only player Wane is checking out. There will be a number of players eligible for England in action over the three days.
Jackson Hastings in the frame
But it is no surprise that Hastings in the main man under the spotlight. He has been a revelation in the last two games as the Tigers have finally found some form. It is no coincidence that the Tigers have picked up after Hastings returned from suspension.
Hastings has starred in the No.7 jersey and Wane is keen to take a closer look. The 26-year-old is already well known to Wane following his spell in Super League.
The playmaker impressed with both Salford and Wigan before returning to the NRL for 2022. He is certainly making the most of his second crack at the NRL after leaving Manly in controversial circumstances. The spell in the UK did the trick and he has returned a more mature and better player.
The Magic Round is sure to be a cracker. And it will be a case of business and pleasure for Wane who cannot wait to get to Brisbane in a couple of weeks.
“I am coming to Australia for the Magic Round,” Wane told NRL.com. “I watch all NRL games and love the intensity.
“Many England qualified players are in form – Jackson being one of them. When he was with Wigan, I personally met him and told Jackson exactly what I liked and what I felt he needed to improve on in his game. That still stands.”
Hastings is eligible to play thanks to his English grandmother. He has already represented Great Britain on four occasions when Wayne Bennett was coach back in 2019.
Wane may prefer to pick English-born players for his side, but he is not ruling out Hastings and co.
Hasting would also face a battle for the No.7 jersey in the England team. Former Canberra Raiders star George Williams and Jonny Lomax are currently scrapping it out.
However a lot can happen before the end of the year and Hastings could come in to contention if injuries were to strike.
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