Austin out to earn Raiders five-eighth spot
New Canberra recruit Blake Austin has spoken of his desire to "earn" the Raiders No.6 jersey over the course of the pre-season and onwards to the 2015 season.
With Raiders veterans Terry Campese and Josh McCrone and rookie Mitchell Cornish all vying for a place in the halves, Austin's move from the Wests Tigers to the nation's capital has made the makeup of Ricky Stuart's six and seven partnership an interesting prospect .
With Campese seemingly out of favour at the club, the stage is now set for Austin to take over the five-eighth mantle, a challenge the 23-year-old is certainly looking forward to considering his initial impression of the club's setup.
"I'm here to work hard. I want to earn the number six. I'm not coming here expecting anything, that's the game we play, so I'll be working hard on the training paddock and hopefully Ricky sees me as the best fit for five-eighth," Austin said.
"It is a very professional club. I've noticed that in my first couple of days being here. Some of the things the club has and is implementing this year are very advanced so I'm just really impressed.
"We started pre-season well last week and had a big day last Friday. Apparently we have a big three to six weeks ahead of us so we'll be ripping in and hoping to lay the foundations for a big season next year."
After a career-best season at the Tigers, Austin believes the Raiders have offered him a chance to truly kick-start his career and take his game to new levels.
"It is always nice when a club shows interest [in you]. It is quite uplifting and when you meet with a coach who speaks so highly of you, you listen," Austin said.
"I heard it is great place and I have a young family so nothing about Canberra scared me. My missus was pretty keen to get down here with the kids too so we're really looking forward to settling in, in Canberra."
With the Raiders chasing better results following their grim 15th-place finish in 2014, Austin – alongside other recruits Sia Soliola, Josh Hodgson and Sisa Waqa – will be out to make their mark on the squad heading into 2015.