Jackson Hastings has spoken to media for the first time since his arrival at the Newcastle Knights, and he's still adamant his best is ahead of him after an injury-affected end to his one-year stint at the Wests Tigers.
Hastings was moved on from Concord as part of a swap deal that saw David Klemmer leave Newcastle, but after so many moves between clubs in recent years Hastings is well-versed in adjusting to new systems.
But despite the challenges that lay ahead, he believes he can be a reason the Knights can return to the finals sooner rather than later.
“I'm still learning,” Hastings admitted to AAP.
“I remember (Andrew Johns) telling me when I was 18 that the game doesn't slow down properly for you until you're about 27 or 28.
“I don't think I'll hit my peak as a halfback until age 28 or 30. With sports science these days, 30 isn't even old.”
For a man who says he still has learning to do, Hastings has enjoyed some success in recent years, with NRL Finals, Super League grand finals and a Man of Steel award all adding to an impressive, if regularly disrupted, resume.
“I know what it's like to be at the back end of the year and up the top there competing for trophies. It's an itch you need to scratch every year. It's where we want to get this club to.”
Hastings is expected to form part of a new-look halves combo next year alongside Kalyn Ponga. One of the biggest supporters of the move is Andrew Johns, the Newcastle legend who campaigned regularly for the club to sign Luke Brooks before the Hastings deal eventuated.
“Everyone knows what Kalyn can do,” he said.
“Knowing I get to play with someone of that calibre will be amazing for my game.
“He's a massive threat with the football and my job is to get him the ball in open space and let him do his thing.”