Jackson Hastings has told of his “scary” experience after his young sister was caught up in the Australian bushfires crisis.
The 14-year-old was on a water skiing trip when nearby flames – and poor air quality – forced her to take action.
“She got trapped in it for a bit and had to evacuate to the beach,” said Hastings, now in training with Wigan .
“She’s only 14 so it was pretty scary for a time. She had to wear a face mask and thankfully she made it home safely.”
At least 24 people have died since the fires began. Air quality in the capital Canberra was last weekend rated the worst in the world, forcing the Raiders – including ex-Warriors George Williams, John Bateman and Ryan Sutton – to relocate their training base to Queensland for 10 days.
“No one can do anything, and I’ve really got my fingers crossed there are no more deaths and loss of houses and land,” said Man of Steel Hastings.
“It’s horrible, waking up and seeing the news every day. I know how close I was to being personally affected and hopefully it all ends soon.”
After a week at the club, Hastings says he has quickly settled into his new surroundings.
“I’ve found it quite easy slotting in,” said Hastings, who guided Salford to an unlikely Grand Final appearance last season.
“Having senior players like Tommy Leuluai and Sean O’Loughlin here, and Sam Powell too, it makes my job as a halfback easier.
“I learned the moves in a day and I feel comfortable with the moves and how we’re going to play.
“I want to put my stamp on certain things but I also want to learn off the boys here.”
The reigning Steve Prescott Man of Steel arrived to training late because of his involvement with Great Britain on the tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
“Everything has been as I expected, tough from the start, everyone ripping in,” said the 24-year-old, who has signed a two-year marquee deal but has the option of leaving for the NRL at the end of this season.
“It’s a great facility at Robin Park and training is really high intensity. Every session is flat-stick, everyone is ripping in and that’s what I expected.”
Wigan fans will be hoping to get a glimpse of Hastings in action when Wigan play their first senior friendly, against Leeds a week on Sunday at the DW Stadium in a match which is serving as Liam Farrell’s testimonial.