Wigan Warriors new-boy ready for media frenzy!
Jackson Hastings has been bracing himself for a media frenzy on arrival with the Great Britain squad in Sydney - but is confident he can deal with whatever is thrown at him.
The 23-year-old Australia-born half-back, who qualifies to play for the Lions through his English grandmother, left the NRL under a cloud following a bust-up with his old Manly Sea Eagles captain and coach.
But Hastings returns a changed person, as well as Super League's Man of Steel after a magnificent 18 months with Salford Red Devils.
"I'm just a completely different person," said Hastings, who will be a Wigan player when he returns from the tour.
"Salford have taught me a lot. It's a club that doesn't have much and you have to earn everything you get.
"I've had to change the way I play a little bit, manipulate my game to suit the way Salford wanted to play.
"And I've been able to take those lessons on the field off the field to become a much better person and involve myself in the community.
"It's just been a whole learning curve, I haven't had my mum here to do everything for me, I've had to learn on the run."
Hastings was brought up by his mother Megan, who flew over for both the Man of Steel ceremony and the Grand Final and will now get the chance to see her son play for his adopted country.
"I'll probably have to fork out some money to get her over to New Zealand but it's definitely worth it if she gets to see me play for Great Britain," Hastings said.
"When I rang her, she was halfway home in Doha and she started bawling her eyes out.
"She's obviously immensely proud of me."She's been there for me and been affected by the bad press in the past so to see her crying with happy tears and not being upset is a good feeling.
"All you want to do as a son is make your mum proud and I've been able to do that this year which has been the highlight of my year to be honest."
Hastings was preparing to return to Sydney for a holiday when he got the phone call from Great Britain team manager Jamie Peacock informing him that he would not be on his own on the trip.
"Receiving the phone call off Jamie was a very proud moment," he said. "I wasn't too sure what was going to happen but he gave me the good news.
"I was going home to see my family and my dogs. It's 12 months nearly to the day since I've seen them.
"It's hard being on the other side of the world and not seeing everyone as often as you'd like but England has changed my life.
"It's given me a new perspective on what life's all about.
"I'll be able to go to Sydney for a couple of days, get the tour over and done with and sit on the beach for a few weeks."