Blake Austin Reveals Insights on Great Britain’s 2019 Rugby League Tour

Rugby League Enthusiast Reflects on Great Britain’s Turbulent 2019 Tour

In a revealing interview on the “The Bye Round Podcast,” former Warrington and Leeds half-back Blake Austin shed light on the infamously disastrous 2019 Great Britain rugby league tour. Despite facing criticism over his controversial selection due to his Australian birth, Austin proudly represented his English grandmother and rejected the comparisons to other players.

Divisive Approach and Limited Playing Time

Austin was one of several half-backs on the tour, but he and others were informed that their playing time would be limited. Head coach Wayne Bennett delivered the news bluntly, telling Austin and Jake Trueman that they would likely not see much action during the six-week journey. This divisive approach split the squad, with 17 players knowing they would feature prominently, while the rest were left uncertain of their roles.

Accommodation Assignments and Unexpected Positions

The player accommodation became a telling indicator of who would be in the team, with Austin realizing his lack of playing time based on his rooming assignments. He found himself paired with a “squaddie” rather than his usual partner, signaling his limited opportunities.

“During a warm-up session, the coach began randomly throwing balls above Austin’s head, testing his aerial ability before offering him the chance to play out wide.”

However, Austin did eventually get his chance on the tour, but it came in an unexpected position – on the wing. Bennett’s unorthodox decision-making process in selecting Austin for the role was nothing short of remarkable. Despite the unconventional circumstances, Austin embraced the opportunity, believing he could contribute more in the backfield than specialist winger Lachlan Coote.

Reflecting on the Tour’s Aftermath

Reflecting on the tour’s aftermath, Austin expressed a sense of responsibility for the negative perception surrounding Bennett’s leadership, acknowledging that the “circus” of the tour may have contributed to the coach’s eventual departure. However, Austin maintained that he loved every minute of the experience and gave it his absolute best effort.

This in-depth account from Blake Austin provides a captivating insider’s perspective on the tumultuous 2019 Great Britain rugby league tour, offering valuable insights into the team dynamics, Bennett’s management style, and the personal journeys of the players involved.

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