Austin not committed to money
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Austin not committed to money

Money wasn't the reason Blake Austin knocked back the Canberra Raiders' offer last year. He wants to be 100 per cent committed before he commits.

The off-contract Raiders five-eighth was upset with recent reports labelling him greedy, after he knocked back what's believed to be a two-year, $1.4 million offer.

Instead, he felt he owed it to the Raiders to be fully committed to remaining in the ACT.

Money isn't Blake Austin's driving force.

Money isn't Blake Austin's driving force.

That doesn't mean he wants to leave either as he continues to play for his future.

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"There's been a bit made about the offer that I did turn down. I just want to go on record to say figures had nothing to do with that contract," Austin told Fairfax Media.

"I'm not a greedy person. I'm a kid from Mount Druitt that grew up in a housing commission house. Money's not the be-all-and-end-all.

"I need to be 100 per cent confident with the decision and at the time that contract was put to me I wasn't.

"I think I owe the club to be 100 per cent committed if I'm going to enter into an agreement.

"But that's not to say I'm not happy here, that's not what I'm saying at all, but ... I was a little bit upset that it was portrayed that I was chasing more money because that's certainly not the case."

Austin returned to the Raiders line-up on Saturday, after getting dropped to the NSW Cup for a couple of weeks.

His defence was excellent in the win against Parramatta and his running game was at its damaging best on his way to a try on his NRL return.

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If he hadn't been fighting for his not only his spot in the Raiders team, but his career as well, Austin might not have even been playing.

His partner Gillian was due to have their fourth child on Sunday and his mother-in-law was on standby to take his place at the birth.

Luckily he now has the best of both worlds and will be there for the birth of his third daughter.

"We were hoping it might've come [Saturday] before the game, put it to bed, but she's a trooper [Gillian]," Austin said.

"Obviously being dropped and coming back in with another opportunity it was important that I played. She understands that.

"Her mum was ready to be there with her if need be. Things worked out and I'll get to be there now, can't wait."

More impressive than what he did with the ball, was his work without it.

Austin's copped criticism for his defence this season, which led to him getting dropped.

But he made several crucial tackles - stopping a charging Manu Ma'u a couple of times, as well as holding up Eels fullback Clint Gutherson one-on-one.

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Austin said he'd started to doubt himself and "defending a little worried - it's not healthy".

"I was really happy with where I got my attack to the first three or four weeks," he said.

"That's the most frustrating thing - I was doing good things with the ball, but I was having one or two moments in each of those games that stuck out like a sore thumb and I was pretty embarrassed with those moments and they weren't quite good enough.

"[Saturday night] was about really backing myself. I know I can be a good defender and I know it's going to take time to change people's opinions, but tonight was a really good start and I've got to build on the back of that."

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said the work defensive coach Mick Crawley and wrestling coach Steve Babic had done in the off-season was starting to bear fruit for the whole team.

"But it doesn't stop there. We've got to keep working hard," Stuart said

"I'm fortunate I've got a squad of blokes there that turn up to every session, with high energy every session and they work hard. We're getting a little bit of a reward."

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NRL ROUND SEVEN

Saturday: Canberra Raiders v South Sydney Rabbitohs at Central Coast Stadium, 3pm. Live on Fox League.

David Polkinghorne covers the Canberra Raiders, local rugby league, Canberra Cavalry, racing and cycling, along with every other sport, for The Canberra Times.

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