Blake Austin relishing reunion with Aidan Sezer at Leeds Rhinos

Blake Austin is relishing the prospect of teaming up with Aidan Sezer again at Leeds – and says he would have pursued a starting halfback place even if Luke Gale had stayed.

Austin is set to make his Rhinos’ debut against Wakefield on Boxing Day and will line up alongside his former Canberra team-mate Sezer.

“A lot is made of our friendship and we’re pretty excited to be playing together again,” Austin said.

“He’s done some good things at Huddersfield and I’ve had a decent couple of years at Warrington. I’m sure it’ll be enjoyable.

“We know what makes each other tick.”

When Austin was initially signed by Leeds, coach Richard Agar hinted at a possible utility role within the squad.

But with Gale having since left for Hull FC, Austin is now in the box seat for a starting spot come February.

“I didn’t really care who was here, I was coming to earn my spot where I wanted to play,” Austin said. “I’ve always known where that was.

“Him (Gale) moving makes that a little bit easier, but I was pretty keen to put my own stamp on it.

“It’s one of the younger squads I’ve been part of – the average age is a lot younger than it was at Warrington.

“I’ve played against a few of them a few times and have settled in well; it’s a great group.”

Austin admits that starting his new career the day after Christmas is a new concept that he is still getting his head around.

“I’ve never played on Boxing Day,” he said. “I had a few backyard cricket games with the family, but normally that would have been done with a cold ham and a few beers.

“I’ve said it before that if you had a choice you wouldn’t pick to play on Boxing Day, but I’m really excited to experience it.

“The missus has asked me how I want to prepare, whether we go down the Christmas route or pasta like I’d normally do before a game. We’re still weighing that up.

“It’s important that we provide a nice Christmas for the kids, and they’re excited to get to Headingley for the first time too.”

Austin is optimistic about his side’s prospects once the Super League season kicks off.

“Anyone who knows a bit about the game knows that we’re got a pretty good squad,” he added.

“They’ve been able to be able to turn a negative into a positive over the last couple of years and given some young boys a few more games than they would have got usually.

“Then you look at what they were able to do with a makeshift team to have a quite remarkable finish to the year.

“But coming from Warrington, one thing I’m well aware of is that games aren’t won on paper.

“We had a pretty good team the last few years and didn’t lift too much silverware.

“I’m happy with what I’ve done there.

“It’s been a strange time through the pandemic although I’ve got fond memories and made some lifelong friends.

“But I went there specially to win a title and we weren’t able to do that.

“At Leeds we’re under no illusions that we have to work hard and get off to a good start.”

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