Jackson Hastings text message comes to light as 'appalling' act slammed

Curious new details have emerged after the post-game altercation between the former Wests Tigers teammates.

Pictured right is Jackson Hastings and Tommy Talau on the left.
Jackson Hastings (R) was shocked that Tommy Talau refused to accept his apology for a high tackle after viewing his former teammate as a friend. Pic: Getty

NRL 360 co-host Paul Kent says Wests Tigers star Tommy Talau was "way out of order" during an angry post-match incident with former teammate Jackson Hastings on Sunday. Talau could be seen pushing Hastings and exchanging heated words with the Knights halfback after the final whistle of his side's 14-12 win, following a high tackle from Hastings that broke the Tigers centre's nose and rubbed him out of the remainder of the contest.

Hastings insisted after the NRL thriller that there was no malice intended in the tackle, adding that he simply got the timing and technique wrong. The former Tigers halfback tried to apologise at the end of the game but Talau was still seething and refused to accept the apology, before Tigers teammate David Klemmer stepped in to usher Hastings away.

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Discussing the incident on Monday night's NRL 360 program, Kent and the other panelists were split on the post-game altercation, with Talau criticised for refusing to accept the apology. “It was a pretty ordinary go from Tommy Talau, he (Hastings) went to apologise, you know the old saying, 'what happens on the field, stays on the field',” Kent said. “That tackle, look it was not right but we see that most weekends now, and most blokes just get on with it.”

The Daily Telegraph's Phil Rothfield labelled it the "most appalling sportsmanship" and said Klemmer had a lot to answer for as well. “What happens on the field, stays on the field, but for Klemmer, who only ran 81 metres during the game, he ran further to get involved in that than he did the whole game," Rothfield argued. "He was so out of order getting involved.”

Jackson Hastings viewed Tommy Talau as a friend

Fellow panelist Brent Read insisted that Klemmer was simply sticking up for his teammate, which is the same view Hastings had when speaking about the incident on Monday. The Knights recruit was understandably left shocked by Talau's reaction after regarding his former teammate as a friend.

Talau spent the majority of 2022 sidelined with an ACL injury and undertook part of his rehabilitation alongside Hastings, who suffered a horror leg break towards the back end of the season. According to Rothfield, Hastings sent a supportive text message to Talau when he returned from injury during the off-season, making Sunday's blow-up even harder to fathom.

“I was told today that when he came back for the trials, Jackson Hastings sent him (Talau) a text message and said ‘good on you mate, you did it tough last year, welcome back to the NRL, this is where you belong’,” Rothfield said on NRL360. “That’s why he was shocked by the response (on Sunday)... there was absolutely no intent in that tackle, it was a mishap that went wrong.”

Read agreed, saying: "They did rehab together, Jackson thought they were mates." NRL 360 co-host Braith Anasta said the incident suggested to him that there must be some bad blood between Hastings and his former Tigers teammates that is yet to come out.

Pictured right, Tigers star Tommy Talau reacts angrily after Jackson Hastings tries to apologise for a high tackle.
Tigers star Tommy Talau was in no mood to hear an apology from Jackson Hastings after a tackle that left him with a broken nose. Pic: Fox League

“The hit on Talau, it wasn’t good, but we’ve seen that… for Klemmer to come in, obviously he doesn’t like Jackson either,” Anasta said. “To me it suggested there was an issue there with the ex-players and Jackson, I could be wrong but that was such an unusual circumstance, you don’t see it at all.”

Hastings explained after the post-match altercation that he was merely trying to say sorry to Talau for the tackle that ruled him out of the remainder of the match. The Newcastle half said he understood and accepted Talau's frustrations and the involvement of Klemmer.

“I just tried to do the right thing at the end of the game by going up to say sorry, in the heat of the battle he was still angry, which I fully appreciate,” Hastings said. “No one wants to get hit in the head and they ruled him out for the game too, so I am remorseful, there was no intent. I can see why he would be frustrated.

“I had no issue with Tommy’s reaction. I would be pretty filthy myself.” He added about Klemmer's reaction: “He is renowned for being a great teammate and he stuck up for his teammate”.

with AAP

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