03 August 2023

Castleford complete shock loan signing of Leeds half-back Blake Austin

03 August 2023

Castleford have pulled off a major coup in their battle for Betfred Super League survival by signing half-back Blake Austin from Leeds on loan for the rest of the season.

The 32-year-old has been one of the best performers for the Rhinos this season but there has been increasing unrest over his future with his current contract set to run out at the end of the current campaign.

The Rhinos were clearly caught off-guard by the news with head coach Rohan Smith calling it “a bit of a surprise”, while chief executive Gary Hetherington admitted the timing of the move was “not ideal”.

Castleford have been sucked into the relegation zone in recent weeks following a surge in form from rivals Wakefield, who hauled themselves level on points after last week’s thrashing of Warrington.

Tigers coach Andy Last said: “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.”

Austin was not signed in time to feature in Friday night’s match against Huddersfield, which means he is in line to make his make his debut the following week in the crucial relegation clash with Trinity.

Austin’s move comes as a clear blow for Leeds, who head into Friday’s clash with Leigh four points off a play-off place and with one of Austin’s potential replacements in the halves, Richie Myler, facing an extended spell on the sidelines due to injury.

Smith admitted: “It (Austin’s move) was a bit of a surprise to start with.

“I went to bed between 10.30pm and 11pm and when I started my walk in the morning, I turned my phone back on and had a message saying that it was likely a deal had been done with Cas.”

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