Canberra Raiders winger Nick Cotric is backing playmaker Blake Austin to fight his way back into the side, after he was named on the extended bench for their round four clash against the Manly Sea Eagles.
Austin has been involved in a shuffle in the halves during the first rounds for Canberra, as coach Ricky Stuart experimented with he and Aidan Sezer on the bench in a utility role, as cover for the injured Josh Hodgson.
Austin is still a chance of taking on the Sea Eagles if Sezer cannot pass a fitness test on a back injury, picked up against the New Zealand Warriors in round three.
"He's been pretty good, I think his back is a bit sore, but besides that he's travelling alright," Cotric said of Sezer.
"Hopefully he'll be right to play because he's a big player for us and such a talented player."
If Austin does miss out this weekend, Cotric said the off-contract 27-year-old will fight his way back into the side.
"He'll bounce back, he's just got a good personality and a good player and a bloke too, he'll be sweet," Cotric said.
Josh Papalii's echoed Cotric's sentiments, saying Austin won't be out of the run-on side for long if he does not take to Lottoland this Saturday night against the Sea Eagles.
"I think he'll be alright, I know Blake as a player and as a person and I think he'll bounce back pretty quickly," Papalii said.
This weekend could see the club debut of Ata Hingano, who was signed by the Raiders off the back of his form at the World Cup last season.
"He played really well in the World Cup for Tonga, he's a talented kid, he's got good footwork and I reckon he'll go well this weekend if he gets the opportunity," Cotric said.
Cotric enjoyed his best individual game of the season last round, making two line-breaks and running for 131 metres with a sensational individual try.
However, the reigning NRL rookie of the year says positive performances that lead to team wins are the true measuring stick of success.
"I have been going alright I guess, I just have to keep working on the little things at training," Cotric said.
"The boys have been really helping me out heaps, just hopefully we can get a win this week.
"I do feel a bit more confident after last year, I'm not as nervous as I was last year, but I'm still enjoying my footy, it's still fun and I'm still happy to be out there."