Austin likely out for City Origin clash

Canberra star Blake Austin is likely to be made unavailable for next week’s NSW City Country match as he continues to nurse a hamstring problem.

The Raiders five-eighth was a surprise inclusion in Saturday’s close NRL defeat to Penrith in Bathurst, coming through unscathed in his first appearance since round six.

Austin said he would be guided by the club’s medical staff on his status for next Sunday’s annual fixture, but with the Raiders’ round 10 clash just four days after the match, he may go unpicked.

“He’s got a bad hamstring, so three games in 10 days is not going to be suitable for Blake,” Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said.

Austin said it wouldn’t be his call.

“It’ll be a joint decision between `Sticky’ and (physio) Konrad (Schultz). I’ve got to get picked first, as there’s a number of candidates that could be picked. We’ll cross that bridge if it comes,” he said.

The 25-year-old has been limited to just four games this year, having also battled knee and shoulder problems over the early part of the season.

However it was his latest hamstring issue that rocked him the hardest.

“It’s the first time I’ve done it so it’s a little bit scary,” he said.

“I obviously base my game on running and power. You need your hammy for that, so it’s a little bit scary. But Konrad and our staff do a great job and they gave me full confidence today to be on the paddock.”

The former Panther said he was focused on staying fit for club duties and developing the new combinations in the spine.

“It’s only the fourth game me, (Josh Hodgson), (Aidan) Sezer and Jack (Wighton) have been able to put together. For us it’s about me staying on the field and getting some games together,” he said.

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