TJ Perenara and Jackson Hastings – Two rumours worth talking about
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Rumours in Rugby League are a funny thing. They occur almost daily, yet usually, you can put a line through them straight away. Two recent ones that have emerged from the doldrums however seem to be legit and are worth talking about. They are linking TJ Perenara to the Sydney Roosters and Jackson Hastings to the Wests Tigers.
For those who don’t know who either of these phenomenal athletes. TJ Perenara is an All Black, having represented his country for a total of 66 tests. He also currently plays as a Halfback/Five-eighth for the NTT Red Hurricanes in the Top League, a competition which is the highest level of Rugby Union in Japan.
While Hastings is a versatile Hooker currently plying his trade for Wigan in the English Super League. He previously represented the Sea Eagles for 13 appearances and the Roosters for 34. Whilst during his time with Salford he scored 15 tries from 41 matches played. He is eerily similar to Todd Carney, another former NRL bad boy. He can be a bit erratic when he plays, but when he’s on fire there’s absolutely no putting him out.
Given Sydney currently have all of Sam Verrills, Billy Smith and Victor Radley out for the season. Whilst James Tedesco and Isaac Liu are also currently missing through injury, the Eastern Suburbs need all the help they can get at the moment.
As for Wests, they have struggled at various points this season and outside of Luke Brooks and Adam Doueihi to a certain extent, they don’t really appear to have anybody capable of creating strong try-scoring opportunities for themselves and others, a major issue which Hastings would at least help to put a bit of a bandage over.
In addition, when looking over the Tigers first two matches of the season, they scored just three tries in total. Then from rounds 4-6 they’ve lost by 14, 4 and 4 points. If Hastings were helping to dictate the attack in those scenarios, I guarantee you he would’ve turned around the result of the two close defeats … at least.
Roosters head coach Trent Robinson had this to say. “We’ve talked, but it’s preliminary at this stage. We’ll take it step by step.” For an attack that just got whooped by the Storm 20-4 and in a game in which they had to feature the inexperienced Benjamin Marschke, Sydney fans must be salivating at the prospect of having a veteran and somebody who can step up and take over the Hooker role. Since Jake Friend was forced into immediate retirement, they’ve missed him/that dearly, but with Perenara’s ball-playing skills and Playmaking ability, it’ll almost be like Friend never left… Almost.
As for the Tigers, during their most recent 18-14 loss they came up with just two tries at one of their home grounds in the form of Stadium Australia (formerly ANZ Stadium). They’ve also committed eight and eleven errors over their past two clashes, both matches they lost. While they also have a 1-5 record as they sit in the 15th spot on the ladder, ahead of only the struggling Bulldogs. And having started Ryan Simpkin in their most recent clash, a man with little NRL experience, bringing Hastings into the fold would most definitely be a step in the right direction for Michael Maguire’s men.
Now that I’ve established what good fits the former Barbarian F.C. and ex-Super League Grand Final player would be, I’ll delve into some of what’s out there online to further back up the claims linking them to each respective club.
Melbourne Storm player Brandon Smith was quoted as saying “He was saying he was going to make the code switch. It just shows he’s got a lot of respect for the game of Rugby League.” If this is 2020 Premiership winning player Smith saying it and through a reputable source such as Nine, then I think this could really be on the cards. Especially so when you factor Robinson’s quotes into the equation as well.
The Sydney Morning Herald, ESPN and even the official NRL website have articles talking about how the Tigers are close to obtaining Hastings and even in ESPN’s case saying how the move’s already been completed. And while he wouldn’t start till the next campaign, he’d still be a fabulous addition to the somewhat struggling side.
NRL.com can be quoted as saying “Hastings is close to signing off on a multi-year Tigers deal from next season one his current deal with Super League outfit Wigan expires at the end of 2021.” That gets my tick of approval. And it will be simply awesome to see him running around the paddock once again in Australia. He never fully achieved his potential with Manly but showed signs of it throughout his short tenure there. His redemption will be quite the sight.
Regardless of whether or not you support either the Roosters or Tigers, you’d have to admit each side looks pretty red hot with those potential players jumping on board. Let’s wait and see what happens, but ultimately the NRL’s about to get a whole lot better with these two in it.