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Blake Austin is back in the NRL's shopfront window two years after knocking back a lucrative Raiders extension, adamant he and his family have struck a priceless commodity in England.

Austin has been brought into Wayne Bennett's World Nines squad and is eyeing a similar call-up to Great Britain thanks to his maternal grandmother's English upbringing.

The 28-year-old has been superb in his first season of a three-year contract with Warrington and polled third in Super League's man-of-steel voting.

His strong form in the UK has seen Austin already touted as a possible playmaking solution for several clubs with questions around their scrumbase like Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Austin cheered his old Canberra teammates on from his loungeroom in their gut-wrenching grand final loss to the Roosters, and has no regrets about the $1.3 million, two-year extension he left on the table before eventually departing for Super League.

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"I knew that when I made the decision to leave it was a decision I had to jump into and back it 100 per cent," Austin told NRL.com after joining England camp.

"I've still got lifelong friends [in Canberra] that I would've loved nothing more than to see them lift the trophy.

"It's a move that's worked well for both of us. I'm not really about looking back, I'm enjoying life over there and I'm at a great club in Warrington and things are going well."

England Nines captain James Graham at Coogee Beach.
England Nines captain James Graham at Coogee Beach. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

Austin is still young enough to contemplate an NRL comeback when his Warrington contract expires at the end of 2021, but stresses he and his family are loving life in the UK and haven't considered a move back to Australia.

"You can't close the door on anything but I'm really happy where I'm at," Austin said.

"I'm at a really professional outfit in Warrington over there. You can never say never on anything but I'm really happy and you can't put a price on being happy at home with your kids and your missus.

"I think I'm just settled over there. My kids have been able to settle really well. In that country I get to be a dad before I'm a footballer, whereas over here in the [NRL] bubble footy can consume your whole life.

"I'm really comfortable with where I'm at and the decision to go over there and here I am today."

Come Friday he will be wearing red and white for the first time.

Austin's only other international outings were for Portugal while he was still in his teens, revealing in a loverugbyleague.com blog earlier this year that his Portuguese roots extended as far as his dad getting along with the team's coach.

Wayne Bennett with the England Nines team.
Wayne Bennett with the England Nines team. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

But Austin is proud of his British heritage and expects his grandmother – who emigrated to Australia after a rough upbringing in English foster homes during the World War II era – to be in the Bankwest Stadium stands for the Nines.

"She's extremely proud, she's extremely proud of me anyway," Austin said.

"To be selected in a team like this on the back of her and the paths that she's walked is special for me and special for her.

"We get to play out at Parramatta which is pretty close to home so I'm sure she'll be in the stands cheering for sure."

 

For ticket and travel packages for the Downer Rugby League World Cup 9s Sydney 2019, head to nrl.com/tickets.