Blake Austin leaving the Canberra Raiders in good hands
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Blake Austin leaving the Canberra Raiders in good hands

His last game in Canberra will serve as a reminder of the dizzying heights he is capable of reaching but Blake Austin is confident he is leaving the Raiders in good hands.

Austin will jet off to the Super League after he plays his final game in lime green against the New Zealand Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium on Friday night.

Blake Austin will not be with the Raiders next season.

Blake Austin will not be with the Raiders next season.Credit:AAP

The 27-year-old playmaker has held a key to the Green Machine's attack for the past four seasons but his impending move to the Warrington Wolves will put Aidan Sezer and Sam Williams in the driver's seat.

Canberra's ability to close out close games has long been a concern but Austin believes the Raiders' recent revival - which has seen them claim the scalps of two competition heavyweights - has provided the blueprint on how to do it.

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Austin is adamant Sezer, Williams and Ata Hingano have the ability to take Canberra back to the finals, and all it's going to take is ball control, because maintaining possession equals less panic.

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"The thing that has been most evident in the last couple of weeks in what have probably been our two better performances is ball control," Austin said.

"As a half in any team, if you’re turning over too much ball then you’re presented with less opportunities and that creates panic, and makes you make decisions you mightn’t take otherwise.

"It’s really important that the two boys that are in the halves are given the tools to guide the team around. Sammy and Aidan, and even Ata, are capable of doing that. That’s all I’ll say about that.

"I just think that whenever we hold onto the ball, our halves certainly can do a job for the team.

Blake Austin scored three tries in on debut for City in 2015.

Blake Austin scored three tries in on debut for City in 2015.Credit:Stefan Postles

"It probably adds to the frustration a little bit when we played the way we’ve played over the past two weeks, and we’ll be packing it up after next week and not playing any finals.

"It adds to the frustration but it certainly beats losing."

Williams is contracted to the Green Machine until the end of 2019, while Sezer has penned an extension to stay in Canberra until the end of 2020. Hingano has taken up an option to remain with the Raiders until the end of next season.

Austin admits if all goes to plan he won't be back in the NRL, which made his Canberra Stadium farewell all the more emotional in front of 15,990 fans last Saturday.

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He passed on a hefty deal with the Raiders before fending off interest from Parramatta to ink a lucrative three-year deal with Challenge Cup finalists Warrington, as he boasts an attacking flair could make him one of the Super League's most dynamic players.

The western Sydney product says a move to the northern hemisphere will provide his family with plenty of new opportunities and he is counting down the days until he gets on a flight to England.

But bringing down the curtain on his soon to be 121-game NRL career - 87 of which will have been with the Raiders after stints with Penrith and the Wests Tigers - won't be easy.

"You’ve got three or four months of different emotions that flow through but it’s sad," Austin said.

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"It’s hard knowing we’ve still got a game next week, that’s probably going to be a sad one as well. I’m looking forward to my next chapter as well.

"[The Warriors game] is just another game of footy. It would be great to get another win to finish the season against another quality side. It’s a tough trip over there but one we’ve done well in in the past.

"It’s just another game, even today was just another game of footy. You get paid to play footy and that’s the easy bit I suppose.

"I’m stoked to be honest, to get over there. I’m really hoping it plays out the way I’m envisioning it. My kids and my missus are excited to get over there, so there is going to be lots of opportunities for us."

Caden Helmers is a sports reporter for The Canberra Times

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