Austin enters the Origin mix
One of the more unlikely individuals to put his hand up for further representative honours, City halfback and Raiders five-eighth Blake Austin did just that, scoring a hat-trick in his side's 12-point loss to Country.
While Austin is a slim chance to earn a start in the halves for the Blues, if New South Wales coach Laurie Daley chooses to go down the path of picking a utility on his bench, Austin certainly took a positive step towards earning an Origin debut.
Considering he has filled in at fullback, centre, the halves and lock throughout his 43 game NRL career, Austin certainly wouldn't look out of place in a sky blue No.14 jumper.
However, a humble Austin remained focused on building on his place in Ricky Stuart's Raiders team – ironically going on to add that he moved to the nation's capital to seal a five-eighth berth and shake the utility tag.
"I'm only eight games into cementing my spot at five-eighth. I've been moved around a lot throughout my career and I feel like I'm only going to get better [now I'm settled in one spot]," Austin said.
"Moving to Canberra was all about stability for me. I've got a coach who puts every bit of confidence in me. I've never enjoyed my footy so much and I've loved my time in Canberra so far.
"Ricky only ever wanted to speak to me as a five-eighth. For someone who wants to lock you in at one position, that's the thing I wanted to hear and he made it pretty clear from the start I was going down there to play in the No.6."
City Origin coach Brad Fittler remained adamant post-game that every single individual, including Austin, who partook in the annual clash was still in the mix for an Origin berth.
Considering Austin's hat-trick and all-round solid performance, Fittler was very impressed with the 24-year-old's showing.
"We all watch footy every week and there's still four weeks to go and there's injuries and a lot of things can happen," Fittler said post-game.
"I thought [Blake] handled the pressure pretty good. I thought if we needed anyone to win us the game then he would be your man. He was setting up space and following the ball and he did a lot of good things."
While he is trying to shake the utility tag, Austin did manage to show up in the yellow and blue of the City jumper with the number seven on his back.
Labelling it "daunting", Austin was pleased with his performance but ultimately disappointed to lose in his representative debut.
"It's a bit daunting for a five-eighth to wear the number seven on their back because history dictates you have to run the team but Josh [five-eighth Reynolds] and I spoke about that we were going to be halves - we weren't going to be a halfback and five-eighth," Austin said.
"There were moments there where we needed to kick a bit better and direct the team a little bit but I just tried to be around the ball at the right time and I guess it sort of paid off [to score] but the result was disappointing."