Blake Austin says he is “excited” to make his Leeds Rhinos debut against Wigan Warriors (Match betting – Wigan 4/9, Leeds 2/1, Tie 18/1) on Friday evening after sitting out their opening round defeat to Warrington Wolves.
The Australian half-back was suspended for the game against the club he departed in the off-season, but now he is primed to make his bow at the DW Stadium.
A much-anticipated half-back partnership between Austin and Aidan Sezer is expected to be on show on Friday for the first time, as the Rhinos look to get off the mark for the season.
They were narrowly defeated 22-20 by Wire last week, despite spending much of the game with 12 men after James Bentley’s dismissal.
Richard Agar’s men face a Wigan (Grand Final winners – Wigan 11/2, Leeds 8/1) side who were comfortable 24-10 winners at Hull KR in the first round of fixtures.
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Despite witnessing a Rhinos loss, Austin says he was happy with what he saw from his new team and has pledged to show energy and passion on the field.
“It’s a week later than anticipated, but I got to watch from the stands last week and was really impressed with the effort and the way the team went about it,” Austin told Rhinos TV.
“I guess my job is to get out there and match that, and bring a couple of things I can do, but I’m just really excited.
“I spent the last three years with every game against Wigan being a big one. It’s a big rivalry I used to have, and I’ll be bringing the same sort of energy and passion I have.”
The Rhinos will be without Bentley as he starts the first of a four-game ban, while winger and fellow new arrival David Fusitu’a also misses out with a head injury.
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