The Raiders' Blake Austin reckons he is almost certain to take on the Panthers on Saturday night.
The Raiders' Blake Austin reckons he is almost certain to take on the Panthers on Saturday night. CRAIG GOLDING

Raider gets the call on own fitness

CANBERRA Raiders coach Ricky Stuart will let Blake Austin decide whether to play in the NRL semi-final clash with Penrith on Saturday night.

Austin, who is recovering from a hand injury that has kept him out since round 24, has been named in the team for the clash at GIO Stadium.

The 25-year-old trained yesterday and worked on gripping with his injured hand.

He said it was too soon to say whether he would play, but he would be doing everything he could to be fit.

"I'm really confident that I'm going to be out there. It'll just be about ticking the boxes and then making the call,” Austin told reporters.

"It just needs to be a few things that I can gain plenty of assurance on and head into the game not worrying at all, because if there is a bit of doubt there I certainly don't want to risk our season.

"It's never going to stack up at training the way it does in a game I suppose, but it's getting to the point now where it's a mental barrier - making sure I feel comfortable and ready to head into the game.

"Last week I would've liked it to have been my say, but it was probably a bit early in its recovery to leave it up to me.

"But as the weeks go by, it's just a matter of what I'm comfortable with and how much work I can get through.”

If Austin fails to return, Sam Williams will slot straight back in the halves alongside Aidan Sezer.

Josh Hodgson has also been named in the side by Stuart, but the Englishman is still struggling with an ankle injury picked up in the loss to the Cronulla Sharks last Saturday.



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