Jon Wilkin slams Leeds Rhinos

There have been some insane transfers in 2023 like Leeds Rhinos losing Kruise Leeming, Luke Gale signing for Wakefield Trinity, Josh McGuire’s Warrington Wolves exit and Tyler Dupree signing for Wigan Warriors.

But one of the biggest shocks came when Blake Austin left Leeds for Castleford Tigers last week for the rest of the season.

Austin has been Leeds’ best player in many respects in 2023 but the club struggled to agree a deal with the stand-off and as this reached a heated point with Austin airing grievances on Sky Sports and on podcasts, the stand-off will be signing for Cas for the rest of the year as they look to fend off relegation.

Speaking on Sky Sports, Jon Wilkin has been highly critical of this decision saying:

“Well it’s bizarre now to lose Blake Austin who’s head of line break assist, head of assist, made more breaks than any other player so as a potent attacking threat Blake Austin’s really been the answer for Leeds this year so to lose him at this stage, I think it is bizarre. It’s strange,” Wilkin explained.

“Leeds have played the game with Blake Austin, he’s been playing fantastically well and I think for the first time in a long time, a player’s controlled the narrative. When it comes to contract negotiations, Leeds have dangled the carrot, led him on, led him on. Well, he’s said, ‘no I’m out of here, I’m off to Cas’.”

Jamie Jones-Buchanan, who still works with Leeds, confirmed that he ‘didn’t like the way’ in which Austin has left stating that he ‘wasn’t keen’ on the deal.

Wilkin continued: “Yeah but Blake Austin’s Blake Austin right? He came here and people say about Blake, well look he’s a great player but he’s an individual and you’ve really got to work him into your organisation.

“For me, Leeds, in the recruitment, decided to take him on and when you do that, it takes some of the baggage that it brings to the player. He’s a maverick, he’s an individual, all of the things that are great about him.

“So, for me, what they did wrong was they knew he’s not going to stay at the end of this year. They dragged it out to the point at which it broke and it’s broken. Blake Austin’s gone now with just seven games left.”