Jackson Hastings spent two seasons at Wigan before returning to the NRL with Wests Tigers.
In 2020, Hastings proved to be the missing piece for the Warriors linking well with Bevan French, guiding the Cherry and Whites to the top of the table and to the Grand Final.
In the decider, Wigan were just a bounce of the ball away from the trophy that a Jack Welsby try ultimately gave to St Helens. In 2021, things didn’t go so well for Hastings and Wigan as they slipped down the table to fourth and were dumped out of the play-offs by Leeds in an 8-0 defeat. That was indeed his final appearance as a Warrior.
However, since his departure Wigan have gotten back on track with Cade Cust filling the void left by Hastings really well whilst Jai Field has captured lightning in a bottle in the opening two rounds scoring a sublime hat-trick against the Rhinos last night.
But one player who was at Wigan whilst Hastings was and continues to be key for the Warriors received huge praise from the 2019 Man of Steel last night.
Thomas Leuluai continues to be a battling halfback and a great leader having been that when playing alongside Hastings in the halves in 2020 and 2021.
Now alongside Cust, Leuluai remains understated both in attack and defence. In defence, he is somewhat surprisingly brutal for a player in his position and size. Always capable of a huge hit, he again caught the eye last night as Wigan outplayed Leeds in every department.
On the back of this he received massive praise from his former halfback partner Hastings who took to Twitter to describe Leuluai as a brilliant defender.
He said: “Tommy Leuluai, pound for pound best defender ever. IMO.”
Pound for pound best defender ever.
— Jackson Hastings (@JackoHastings) February 18, 2022