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Blake Austin to Leeds


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Leeds bolster their wing stocks:

Leeds have confirmed the signing of half-back Blake Austin from Warrington on a one-year contract for the 2022 season.

The 30-year-old will join the Rhinos at the end of the season and becomes their third new signing for 2022 following on from St Helens forward James Bentley and Huddersfield half-back Aidan Sezer.

Leeds confirm signing of Blake Austin | LoveRugbyLeague

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Interesting signing.

When Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer were at their best for the Raiders as a half back partnership they finished 2nd on the NRL ladder and went within 2 points of a Grand Final losing 14-12 away to Melbourne in a major semi-final (2016).

They are both 30 so not over the hill - could they be a top quality half back pairing for Leeds and where does this leave Luke Gale if he is potentially not in the first choice half back pairing.

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The current first choice Leeds half back pairing (Gale and Lui) haven't played together this season, a pattern which is going to continue for at least the next two games.

I imagine the club views this as an excellent contingency - if all three half backs by some miracle happen to be fit at the same time, that's excellent. If not, then hopefully two of the three should be.

The one year contract is widely reported to be at a very favourable rate for a player of Austin's theoretical quality (nowhere near marquee) and with both Austin and Gale out of contract at the end of 2022 it incentivises them both to really perform to earn new contracts either at Leeds or elsewhere.

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I'm a big fan of Austin, I think he now looks miserable at Wire, I've made my views clear on why I think his attacking prowess has been stunted.

I hope he regains some of his energy and enthusiasm and does well at Leeds, apart from against us obviously.

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2 minutes ago, Dave T said:

I'm a big fan of Austin, I think he now looks miserable at Wire, I've made my views clear on why I think his attacking prowess has been stunted.

Can you remind us of those views?

 

2 minutes ago, Dave T said:

I hope he ... does well at Leeds, apart from against us obviously.

Myler and Dwyer seem to perform above average when they play Warrington so hopefully the prospects for that aren't great 😄

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6 minutes ago, M j M said:

Can you remind us of those views?

I'm not sure if you are pulling my leg as I often repeat myself on this 😆, but: Austin came as a maverick off the cuff attacking focused player, who could do some other stuff like the kicking. Price with his negative tactics imho turned him into a Kevin Brown type player, so now we have somebody who is not far off a glorified second rower who kicks. 

He works hard, tries hard, and still shows glimpses, but a player like him should never be grubber kicking into touch on the 3rd like we have had him doing. 

I'd like to see him playing more creative Rugby again. 

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6 minutes ago, Dave T said:

I'm not sure if you are pulling my leg as I often repeat myself on this 😆, but: Austin came as a maverick off the cuff attacking focused player, who could do some other stuff like the kicking. Price with his negative tactics imho turned him into a Kevin Brown type player, so now we have somebody who is not far off a glorified second rower who kicks. 

He works hard, tries hard, and still shows glimpses, but a player like him should never be grubber kicking into touch on the 3rd like we have had him doing. 

I'd like to see him playing more creative Rugby again. 

No not pulling your leg, I couldn't remember 🙂 But I did imagine it had something to do with Stevie P.

Not to worry though, Guru Agar will be able to get him back on the right track.

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I think for a year its a very good option for Leeds to have options!

We've seen this year how damaged we have been by injuries leavig us resorting to god knows which choice halfback pairings at times, so a player who is very capable in that position will be a great addition. Equally he can cover a fair few additional roles which is a positive for us.

Its a real downside about our current interchange/subs rule that halfbacks and backs are essentially all or nothing as there is little chance of them appearing from the bench given the need to rotate forwards. That will leave 1 of Gale, Austin and Sezer out almost certainly.

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One other thought - Leeds are really making a big play for 2022 to be a big year for the club. Having three quality half backs is part of this. At the very least they don't want to risk being anywhere near the four team relegation stuff (if we do revert to a deeply unlovely ten team league). In fact they are probably taking a look at where Saints and Wigan are headed squad-wise next year and think they have a very good chance to win the thing.

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I think Austin has had some of his better games in the last few weeks, but definitely hasn't show enough in the last two seasons to justify keeping him on as a marquee player. Williams and Widdop, with Ratchford as cover, is more than enough halfback capacity if that is what we are going with next year.

I can confirm 30+ less sales for Scotland vs Italy at Workington, after this afternoons test purchase for the Tonga match, £7.50 is extremely reasonable, however a £2.50 'delivery' fee for a walk in purchase is beyond taking the mickey, good luck with that, it's cheaper on the telly.

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Think this is one of those deals where it works out for everyone. Wire would be fair to say they don't really need him anymore (or at least certainly not at anything like what money he's currently on), Leeds definitely need strong cover in the halves (and possibly a fight between Gale and him for contract extension isn't a bad thing) and Austin just wants a decent pay day at this stage of his career and ideally at a club that will be challenging for honours. 

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1 minute ago, hunsletgreenandgold said:

and Austin just wants a decent pay day at this stage of his career

Well he's not getting one at Leeds. At least not in 2022 at any rate.

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