Blake Austin has revealed his motivation to do things differently played a major part in bringing him to Super League at the age of just 27 – and admits he already has an idea what will happen after his three-year deal with Warrington is up.
Austin is arguably the biggest new signing in the English game next year, after agreeing a deal to join Steve Price’s side from NRL side Canberra, where he will become one of the Wolves’ marquee players.
Most Australian imports tend to move to Super League in the twilight years of their career, but Austin admits he rejected opportunities to stay in the NRL to join Warrington – citing a desire to buck the trend.
Speaking exclusively to League Express, Austin said: “I’ve been in Canberra for a few years, and I’ve known for a little while that I needed to do something different.
“I knew what risks were attached with coming here and making such a big change, and I had other opportunities to take up in the NRL too. But I’ve never been afraid to do things differently, and here we are.
“If I’m honest, Warrington weren’t on my radar, and I actually had other Super League clubs come along before they did earlier in the piece. They weren’t someone I entertained or the move wasn’t anything I initially thought I’d do this young, but the first chat I had with Steve sold me. He didn’t try to ram the move down my throat or force me to come, he just finished the conversation by telling me that if I played good footy here, things would work out in terms of the NRL.”
Austin’s style of play is widely expected to suit Super League – but the playmaker himself admits he’s not arrogant enough to make any pre-defined expectations.
“It frustrates me a little because I’ve got to get here, work hard and find out what this league is all about,” he said.
“Nothing comes without hard work, and for every player that comes over and tears it up, there are three or four that don’t work out. I have no intention of being disrespectful to Super League and say ‘oh, this league should be easy’ – I’m starting from scratch.”
When asked if he knows whether he will return to the NRL at some point or whether he envisages a longer stay in England into his 30s, Austin said: “I’ve got it all worked out in my head.
“I wouldn’t want to be too vocal in my head – but I’m not naive enough to know that things can change enough in an instant with the slightest little thing happening.
“I come with the mindset that good footy comes before anything else. Sometimes when you come in the twilight of your career, it’s on the hit-list to do some travelling and see the world – but I’m coming here to better my footy primarily and join a club that want to win things.”