It is finally confirmed; Blake Austin will be a Leeds Rhinos player next season after signing a one-year deal with the West Yorkshire club.
Austin has made 62 appearances for Warrington Wolves since his move to Super League in 2019. He will now link up again with former Canberra Raiders team mate, Aidan Sezer (who will also join the Rhinos next year),, and with Bodene Thompson, who he played alongside at West Tigers prior to his move to the Raiders.
In his first season with the Wolves, Austin scored on his debut against the Rhinos at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, was runner up for the Steve Prescott Man of Steel Award and was selected by Wayne Bennett for the Great Britain tour that season, winning two caps.
“We are delighted to be able to add a player of the quality of Blake Austin to our existing squad for next season,” said Rhinos coach Richard Agar. “Consistently over the last two seasons, we have spoken about creating competition for every position in the side and, just as importantly, making sure that we have strength in depth.
“We saw earlier this season that we needed to improve our options at half back, which Blake will certainly do but he can also play a number of positions across the team. We see plenty of adaptability and versatility in Blake and of course he has a great deal of experience both in the NRL and Super League having played nearly 200 games.
“Throughout our discussions about our vision for his role within our squad, I have been impressed with his ambition and willingness to play his part for the team and I am looking forward to seeing him in our environment.
Austin added: “While I have some disappointment at leaving Warrington, I am extremely happy to be joining such a great club. Leeds Rhinos is a club I set my sights on a few months back, and I am stoked to be getting on board. I am joining one of my best mates and a squad that look set for an exciting next five to ten years.
“I opted for a one year deal to prove myself to the Leeds faithful. I believe it is something that will to help get the best out me personally but I definitely want to settle in for a lot longer.”
Austin becomes the Rhinos third new signing for 2022, following on from Leeds-born St Helens forward James Bentley and half back Aiden Sezer.