Warrington snap up marquee man Blake Austin

Drew Darbyshire

Canberra half-back Blake Austin has joined Warrington as a marquee player on a three-year deal from 2019.

The 27-year-old is currently plying his trade with Canberra Raiders in the NRL. He previously spent time at Penrith Panthers and West Tigers and has scored 42 tries in 114 NRL appearances.

Austin is a like-for-like replacement for Tyrone, who will return to Australia at the end of the year.

The half-back is excited to make the switch to Super League.

He said: “I’m really excited to be joining the Warrington Wolves.

“No-one I’ve spoken to has had a bad word to say about the club. I’m stoked I get the chance to come over in what I believe can be the best years of my footy career, and not a cameo at the tail end of my career.

“My partner and I have always wanted to experience England and the Super League, and can’t wait to embrace the Wolves and everything Warrington has to offer.

“I look forward to working with Pricey [Steve Price] and all the boys, with the goal of delivering silverware to the club.”

Wolves coach Steve Price is delighted to have secured the services of Austin for next year.

He said: “I’ve watched Blake closely for a number of years over in the NRL and he’s a guy who, when you come to review the opposition, your game plan heavily revolves around which says a lot about the type of player he is.

“He has an outstanding running game and is always a threat with the ball in his hand. He’s a big body so hard to handle with electric footwork. I feel he is going to be a quality signing for our club and I’m excited to be able to work with Blake next year.

“He had a really good breakout year in 2015 when he was five-eighth of the year and in 2016 he led the majority of attacking stats in the NRL. When I was fortunate to be assistant coach alongside Shane Flanagan at Cronulla Sharks for the semi-final down at Canberra, we heavily revolved our game plan around Blake as he’s certainly an excitement machine.

“This is a massive coup for our club as a number of clubs were in for him in both the UK and Australia which says a lot about the quality of player he is; to have that much interest. We are always on the lookout for quality personnel and so this is a great coup for our club to get Blake over the line.”

Austin has represented Portugal three times, but he is eligible to play for England through his grandmother.