Austin in England Performance Squad
Super League’s Man of Steel joint leader Blake Austin has been named in the England Elite Performance Squad.
Super League’s Man of Steel leader Blake Austin has been named in the England Elite Performance Squad.
The 28-year-old, who was born in Sydney, qualifies through his maternal grandmother.
Austin has been Warrington Wolves’ stand-out performer since moving from NRL side Canberra Raiders at the start of the season.
He began 2019 as the favourite to win the Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel award and is currently joint top of the leaderboard with Salford Red Devils’ Jackson Hastings.
Round 22 is the last week that votes will be made public, as the exciting race builds through the playoffs and, ultimately, to the Man of Steel Awards on October 6.
The award was revamped this season, with a panel of judges now allocating points to players based on their performances. Previously it had been voted for by the players.
Austin is also currently the top try scorer in Super League with 18, and has been directly involved in 29 tries, assisting 11.
The 27-man EPS squad is formed of all Super League players and Austin is one of seven Warrington players to be included.
Kevin Sinfield, the RFL’s Rugby Director who leads the England Performance Unit, said: “Blake Austin is a quality player but just as important is his commitment to joining our England squad.
“Unlike a few other guys who would qualify to play for Great Britain later this year through their ancestry from other Home Nations, he would make himself unavailable to play any representative rugby in Australia as soon as he plays for England, because England are a Tier One nation.
“That is a good indication of his commitment to joining our group, and we believe he will be a very positive addition.”