Jackson Hastings the 'next option' for Wigan Warriors' goal-kicking role

Jackson Hastings has offered to take over as Wigan’s goal-kicker.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 8:59 am
Updated Thursday, 20th May 2021, 9:22 am
Jackson Hastings

Adrian Lam revealed the Australian halfback has been trying to persuade him to let him have the responsibility.

The Wigan coach is considering his options ahead of Saturday’s trip to Salford.

Zak Hardaker had been Wigan’s first-choice kicker but after missing a penalty during the Challenge Cup loss to Hull, Harry Smith took over.

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Lam revealed it was Hardaker who suggested Smith keep the role for Monday’s game at Leigh but the halfback only converted half of the six tries.

And the Warriors boss said: “Jackson is the next option.

“He keeps tapping me on the shoulder, telling me he’s ready to go.

“Harry missed a few (against Leigh), so it is an area we’re aware of and we need to fix to make sure we take those opportunities.”

Hardaker has been Wigan’s principle kicker for the last three years though by his own admission, he is not an accomplished marksman and only got the role because he was “the best of a bad bunch”.

His record in Super League this year is 13 from 22 attempts for a strike rate of 59 per cent, according to the competition's stats. The league’s best kickers, such as Catalans’ James Maloney and Hull FC’s Marc Sneyd, have strike rates of 83 and 91 per cent respectively.

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Surrendering the goal-kicking wasn’t the only change for Hardaker on Monday.

On the same day he was named Super League Player of the Month for an exceptional start to the campaign, he started on the left wing with Bevan French restored to full-back.

Lam says the decision was so they could easily swap roles later on when French was “gassed” without disrupting the rest of the line-up.

“The conversations were honest and clear and they handled it really well,” said Lam, who admitted he sees Hardaker as a centre.

Lam also rotated his props against Leigh, leaving out Joe Bullock to give Mitch Clark his first appearance of the year.

And after a strong first showing against Leigh, Clark may keep his spot against Salford – with Lam hinting another prop may make way and Bullock, understood to be joining Warrington next year, returning to the fold.

“I want the pressure among the forwards,” added Lam, who is expected to provide an injury update on Morgan Smithies at his pre-match press conference today, though it’s thought his leg problem isn’t serious.