HE’S a promising defender who is fit and ready to go for his second season on the Port Adelaide list - for Logan Austin, a new contract is just the boost he needs heading into 2016.
The 20-year-old Canberran has signed a two-year contract extension to tie him to the Power until the end of the 2018 season.
A versatile defender who can play as a genuine key position backman or against a third tall forward, Austin was troubled by injury in his debut season with Port Adelaide, where he played 10 SANFL games.
He missed the Magpies’ finals series after the club pulled him out for surgery to his shoulders in August.
The decision to put him under the knife early was a demonstration of the value the Port Adelaide football department sees in Austin – his early surgery and long stint in rehab will enable him to attack the 2016 season at full throttle.
But Austin’s sights are simply set on a steady return.
“Purely because I didn’t play a full year of footy last year, the plan is just to stay injury-free, stay on top of my rehab and have a consistent season,” Austin told portadelaidefc.com.au.
That tilt on the new season is expected to start in either the AFL or SANFL pre-season trial games being played on Saturday.
He’s aiming to use the remaining trials before the start of the season proper as a measuring stick for his progress out of rehab.
“We’ll see what happens, I want to get back into it [football] but also need to accept that I might need to be patient, given the time I’ve spent out of the game,” he said.
Having played senior football with Belconnen – a team that wears black, white and teal and has a Magpie as its mascot – in 2014, Austin came to Port Adelaide with genuine senior-level experience.
But it wasn’t a walk in the park, with the contested nature of the competition throwing him an immediate challenge.
Austin in action for the Magpies at Alberton last year [pic: Chris Kelly]
“I felt I did alright last year, I had come out of the NEAFL where I played some senior footy for Belconnen, and so I was used to the physical contact from bigger bodies,” Austin said.
“But the style of footy, the contested style – it was different to what I’ve experienced in the past.
“It  gives me a base to start this year from and hopefully push towards AFL selection.”
Austin is the third player from his draft year to sign a new contract, following from Dougal Howard and Jesse Palmer who put pen to paper earlier this month.
Port Adelaide plays two trial games on Saturday 27 February – against Melbourne at Elizabeth Oval at 1.35am and the Adelaide SANFL team at Alberton at 10.00am.
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