Blake Austin says he is “shattered” after being left out of Warrington’s 19-man squad for the Challenge Cup final.
The Australian half-back has been struggling with an ankle injury since the defeat at Catalans three weeks ago. Coach Steve Price insisted earlier this week that he would give the 26-year-old until Friday’s captain’s run training session to prove his fitness.
Price then omitted him from Thursday’s required squad, although doubts still surrounded whether he could be a late call-up as the Wolves have done in the past. Coaches can bring in players after that deadline if somebody else is ruled out through injury by the club’s medical staff.
Warrington fielded full-back Stefan Ratchford in the semi-final win over Hull FC after he was left out of the 19-man announcement, and Ben Currie returned from long-term injury in March having not been named.
But Austin posted on Instagram on Thursday afternoon: “Shattered, but wasn’t my time I guess, can’t wait to cheer the boys on, we’ve got a strong squad and a game plan to match, lessssgo.”
Austin’s usual half-back partner Dec Patton insists both him and the Wolves can reverse their form when it matters most at Wembley. Warrington have lost their last five Super League matches and Patton has been disappointed with his own displays.
But the 24-year-old local lad is confident of getting it right on the big stage.
Patton said: “I’ve not been very happy with my form to tell you the truth. If I could put my finger on it and know what it was then I’d be playing a lot better.
“I’m trying to forget about all that now and put everything into this week to show what I can do.
“As a team we’ve not been doing our basics right and especially this week we’re going to have to get that right and flip it on its head. The semi-final win over Hull gives us a lot of confidence because we were just starting that drought around then, and weren’t believing in ourselves as much as we should.
“We turned it on for the game, because in the cup there’s no next week, it’s 80 minutes or you’re out. We’ve definitely got the personnel to do it again.”
Saturday will be extra special for Patton’s family, with younger brother Junior playing for Great Sankey High School in the traditional year seven curtain raiser.
Patton added: “It’s great for the family – my dad is made up with his two sons playing at Wembley on the same day. I’m not sure if I’ll get chance to see the whole game but I’d like to get out and see how he’s going on.
“He’s a half-back like me – he’s probably a bit better than me to be honest! He’s a good little player and hopefully he keeps his head down.”