Austin will be great asset at Raiders or Eels: Paulo

Austin will be great asset at Raiders or Eels: Paulo

Canberra prop Junior Paulo said he has no insider information as to the future of current teammate Blake Austin after Parramatta met with the Raiders five-eighth about joining the club next season.

Paulo has already pledged his playing future to the Eels after signing a four-year deal from 2019.

However, Austin looms as a potential replacement for Corey Norman who NRL.com understands is being shopped around to rival clubs.

Paulo remained tight-lipped when asked about Austin potentially joining him at the Eels next season, saying his skill-set would be a huge boost to either the Raiders or Parramatta should he leave.

"Blake's his own man and whatever decision he's going to have to make for his future is going to be up to him," Paulo said.

"Parramatta for me is next year and I think whatever happens with Blake and where he's at, he'd be beneficial to any club that he goes to.

"He's been a real character off the field and we all know what he can do on the field, so I think no matter where he goes whether it's staying in Canberra or to Parramatta I think he'll be beneficial (to that team) but it's all up to Blake at the moment."

Canberra was hit with the news that Jack Wighton pleaded to assault on Thursday but has also been given a boost ahead of their crucial clash with Brisbane this weekend, with Paulo named on the bench to return from a mid-foot sprain.

The hulking prop has been on lighter duties since being taken off in Canberra's round nine win over Gold Coast.

"That was the most frustrating thing because it was my foot, you always want to be on your feet, getting around so it was one of those niggling injuries that you just have to rest to settle it down," Paulo said.

"The upper body got a bit of a workout, but I've got some Ks in the legs the past couple of weeks running around on the (training) field so it's definitely good to be back."

Paulo expects the game to be won in the middle third of the field and the statistics for both forward packs to date back that assessment up. 

There is little to split the teams in 2018, with Brisbane earning a mere 11 metres in total more than Canberra this season with the team sitting in 11th and 12th respectively in the NRL.

"Going up against Brisbane up here in Brisbane is going to be a tough occasion on the weekend and where we are sitting on the ladder, everybody knows how important this game is going to be for us," he said.

"We haven't spoken about it (being a season-defining game) as a team but individually we all know where sit on the ladder and how far we are outside the eight at the moment.

"So, it's going to be one of those things, it's going to be tough to make it if we lose this weekend so it's a must-win for us."

Despite losing nine of their last 10 games at Suncorp Stadium, Paulo said the side wasn't thinking about talk of a hoodoo at the ground.

The hype he is buying into though is that around some of the Broncos' young forwards, including Joe Ofanhengaue who's averaging 112m a game this season.

"They've definitely got a good combination of youth and experience, especially in their forward pack.

"You've got your (Sam) Thaiday's who brings experience and then they've got (Joe) Ofanhengaue and Tevita Pangai jnr they bring a lot of punch to the game so it's going to be a tough battle in the middle."