Season Review: Blake Austin
Five Key Stats
Games | 19
Tries | 8
Tackle Busts | 45
Line Breaks | 10
Kick Metres | 1930
Best Match of the Season
Round Five | Raiders 22 defeated Bulldogs 8
Returning from a knee injury sustained in Round One, Austin combined wonderfully with new halves partner Aidan Sezer to dominate the Bulldogs from the outset.
After a breakout season last year, 2016 wasn't quite as smooth sailing for Raiders five-eighth Blake Austin.
Off-season shoulder surgery saw Austin sidelined for most of pre-season, only beginning to take part in contact training close to Round One. The situation was not ideal, with Austin desperate for more time on the training field alongside new halves partner Aidan Sezer.
Dominating headlines as he raced against the clock to be fit for the Raiders season opener against the Panthers, Austin’s return to the field would be short-lived, as he lasted only a half against the Panthers before suffering a knee injury in a tackle.
Back to rehab it was for another few weeks, before returning in Round Five against the Bulldogs. Slotting straight back into the team, Austin and Sezer turned in one of their best performances of the year as the Raiders dominated the Bulldogs.
A minor hamstring injury again stalled Austin’s start to the season, missing Rounds 7 and 8, before making a comeback in Round 9.
Finally injury free and regaining the confidence that makes him a threat whenever he has the ball in hand, Austin played a vital role in the Raiders ten-match winning streak.
Misfortune again hit Austin just when it seemed like everything was going right for the Raiders, breaking his hand in a routine team defensive session. Austin underwent surgery the next day, with his chances of taking part in the Raiders finals campaign slim.
Making a extremely quick recovery, Austin was back for the Raiders semi-final against the Panthers after a three-week stint on the sideline. It didn't take long for Austin to show how important he was to the Green Machine, scoring the opening try with his trademark dummy and step, and in the process shaking off any lingering doubts about his hand.
In his sixth season in the NRL, 2016 was the first time Austin played finals football. The big-game experience is sure to benefit him moving forward, especially as he presses for a Blues jersey in the future.
A full pre-season and a bit more luck on the injury front are key factors in Austin reclaiming his best form in 2017. More pre-season hours alongside Aidan Sezer will also benefit the Raiders greatly next season, as the duo look to form one of the premier halves combinations in the NRL.