Warrington star Austin added to England squad
Warrington Wolves stand-off Blake Austin has been added to England's Elite Performance Squad.
The Australian-born half-back qualifies to play for England through his grandmother and has taken a step towards selection for the Great Britain tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea at the end of the year through his addition to Wayne Bennett's 27-man squad.
Austin joined Warrington from Canberra Raiders this year and has enjoyed a stellar first season. He is Super League's top try scorer with 18 and sits at the summit of the Man of Steel leaderboard.
"Blake Austin is a quality player but just as important is his commitment to joining our England squad," said Kevin Sinfield, the Rugby Football League's rugby director.
"Unlike a few other guys who would qualify to play for Great Britain later this year through their ancestry from other home nations, he would make himself unavailable to play any representative rugby in Australia as soon as he plays for England, because England are a Tier One nation.
"That is a good indication of his commitment to joining our group, and we believe he will be a very positive addition."
While Austin is the only addition, four players have dropped out. Kallum Watkins misses out following his move to the NRL, while there is also no place for Castleford's Adam Milner. Joe Greenwood and Robbie Mulhern, meanwhile, have been included in the Knights Performance Squad instead.