Ex-player says “mongrel” Jackson Hastings is the perfect captain

Jackson Hastings is preparing for his competitive debut for Newcastle Knights.

The former Man of Steel and Salford Red Devils and Wigan Warriors star joined the Knights after one season with Wests Tigers in the NRL.

Now there have been calls from former players that Hastings should replace star man Kalyn Ponga as the club’s skipper because he is a “mongrel” of a player who will tell it how it is.

NRL icon Bryan Fletcher is the one leading these claims.

“I’d give Hastings the captaincy and take it off Kalyn, I’ve seen what Jackson’s like around people, he’s not afraid to tell them how it is. Whereas I think Kalyn is a gentle soul,” Fletcher told Fox League.

“Sometimes being a captain you need a bit of mongrel in you and Kalyn is so nice, which is not a bad trait to have, but I think Jacko doesn’t give a shit and I would consider it.”

Meanwhile, Braith Anasta echoed the idea that Ponga needs to step up in 2023.

“Kalyn really needs to stand up and the pressure is on him because he’s moving into the key playmaking role,” Braith Anasta said.

“He’s got a new half in Jackson and he needs to be an 8/10 every week for Newcastle to be a chance of even making the finals let alone being premiership threats.

“So there’s a lot of pressure and a lot of onus on him but when you sign big and long deals and perform like he has for Queensland, the expectation is high and he needs to deliver – and he knows that.

“And he can, he’s one of the best players in the game, he’s a superstar but with injuries he’s missed so many games – he needs a huge year.”

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