Austin set to announce new deal after sizzling cameo for Canberra
Blake Austin admits it was a tough week leading into his side's meeting with Canterbury at Belmore but hopes the next seven days will be more enjoyable after his turbo-charged match-winning stint off the bench, with an announcement on his future imminent.
NRL.com recently reported Parramatta had held contract discussions with the five-eighth while he has also been linked to English clubs Warrington and St Helens. It appears a switch to the Super League is the most likely outcome.
Austin will not be remaining in the national capital and said he would make an announcement on his playing future during the next week.
"In my head yeah, I'm probably closer than close [to knowing]. I know what's going on but we'll have to sit back and wait and see what's going to happen. It will be this week sometime, we'll make an announcement and I'm really excited for it," he said.
The Raiders capitulated in Brisbane last Saturday, going down 26-22 after leading 16-0 at half-time. Austin had a night to forget as Canberra's right edge produced some worrying defensive lapses but he was the only one to cop it at the selection table, demoted to the bench for the Bulldogs game.
He responded in the perfect fashion - after being forced to watch on as his team slumped to a 26-14 deficit, Austin was finally injected into the fray with 15 minutes to go.
Despite starting brightly with some attacking runs, his team slipped further behind as a Canterbury penalty put the Dogs out to a seemingly invincible 14-point buffer with just seven minutes to play.
Austin never lost faith. He produced a big left-foot step to score a try with five minutes to go as well as the long-range break that set up the field position for Joey Leilua's last-gasp match-winner.
He produced seven runs for 118 metres with three busts and three line breaks plus a try in a spell that completely turned the game.
More relieved than elated after the game, Austin said it had been a tough week in the wake of the loss to Brisbane, "probably been a tough six weeks if I'm brutally honest".
"I wasn't real sure what my role was going to be but I guess, to make an impact like I did. It's going to make the week a bit more enjoyable."
"We left it pretty late to get me on but I was pretty confident I could make an impact and do a job for the boys.
"It's pretty tough [watching on], we'd have to check my GPS but I would have clocked a few Ks up and down the sideline. I don't think there was a real plan about where I was going to go on but in the end I got to go into the halves which made it a lot easier."
Coach Ricky Stuart hadn't said much about what Austin should expect in the bench role, he added.
"Mine and Ricky's relationship, my whole time here, we always have little dialogue about my game," he said.
"It's something that's really worked for us in the past. We went to Suncorp last week and our right edge conceded a few tries, therefore Ricky made a change and Sammy [Williams] got a chance.
"I did some good things last week and I don't think everything that happened on the right edge was solely on me. There's four guys on an edge but definitely we conceded some tries and I can agree a change had to be made. My week's going to be a bit more enjoyable, I'm just really glad I could contribute for the boys, it's one thing you want to do when you come off is know you contributed for your teammates. It will be a happier few days."