Castleford Tigers have been desperate in their recruitment this season with a plan to lower the average age of the playing squad being a key element according to their Director of Rugby Danny Wilson, however they’ve just signed a veteran Super League half in their bid to survive Super League relegation with Leeds’ Rhinos Blake Austin signing until the end of the season on a huge move!
Austin is out of contract at the end of the season at Headingley and has looked to try secure a new deal, calling for CEO Gary Hetherington to ‘get the cheque book out’ following one of his man of the match performances live on Sky Sports.
The half-back is a brilliant player and will add plenty to Castleford in their bid to survive with Castleford confirming the news via their website.
“Castleford Tigers are excited to announce the loan signing of half-back Blake Austin from Leeds Rhinos until the end of the 2023 season!
“The Fords’ recruitment news is proudly brought to you and sponsored by the club’s official recruitment partner ORB Recruitment.
“The 32-year-old brings a wealth of experience having represented Penrith Panthers, Wests Tigers, and Canberra Raiders, guiding the latter to a NRL Grand Final in 2016.
“A move across to Super League and Warrington Wolves followed where Austin was voted runner-up for the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award in his first season which earned him a call-up to Wayne Bennett’s Great Britain squad.
“Last season he played an integral role in the Rhinos’ journey to the Super League Grand Final and has featured 18 times this term, scoring once.
“Speaking on a standout signing for the club, Head Coach Andy Last affirmed just how delighted he is to get the deal done.”
“We are really pleased to get Blake in at this point in the season. He is someone with a massive amount of experience in the NRL and in Super League who has proven himself as one of the top players in his position. His knowledge of the game and rugby brain will be a big bonus for us as we aim to finish the season strongly.”
“Due to the deal running on late towards the transfer deadline, Castleford’s latest arrival won’t be available in time for Friday night’s fixture against Huddersfield, however, Tigers Director of Rugby Operations Danny Wilson affirmed that Austin will be raring to go in time for the away match at Wakefield.”
“Blake is a very exciting player who is of a very high calibre, and we know what he can do when he’s at his best. We hope that he can come in and help us in our fight and be a point of difference.
“In terms of the deal, it was a really quick one because we heard late on that Blake could be available and we acted as quickly as we could. I’d like to thank Leeds and his agent for supporting us on this move. We know he will come in and give his all for Cas Tigers.
“It’s exciting news for the fans as well and I think they will all get behind him and the team to have a really positive end to the season.”
What this means for Leeds in the immediate future given they are still playoff contenders is unclear, whilst it also adds uncertainty to Austin’s long term future at Headingley.