Sport

Austin powers up through the ranks

By Fraser Walker-Pearce

AUSTIN Linahan averages four hours of play time on the soccer pitch each weekend — and that’s on the quiet side.

Most people would be stoked to rack up 50 games for their club over a couple of seasons, but Austin has done it in one.

The shy 15-year-old Moama Echuca Border Raiders full back has this year racked up 50 matches, accumulated across three divisions — seniors, youth premiers and under-16s.

Austin’s week usually sees him train for six to eight hours across the weeknights, before playing a full 90 minutes on Saturday for the under-16s, followed by another 120-180 minutes for the youth and senior sides on Sunday.

Austin said in spite of the huge amount of game time, he wouldn’t change it — especially when compared to his efforts in 2017.

‘‘I actually played about 63 games last year, so this one has been quieter,’’ Austin said.

And for a defensive full back by trade, he sure knows how to find the back of the net.

Austin has scored three goals this season — the pick of the bunch was a free kick for the under-16s from 25 yards out which he bent around the wall into the top corner.

Known around the Border Raiders club for his quiet but hard-working nature, Austin often arrives to Tuesday trainings at 5pm to train with the under-16s before completing a full two hour session with the seniors.

That means he doesn’t leave Brick Alley in Moama until 8.30 or sometimes 9pm.

His work ethic has not gone unnoticed with his coaches and fellow players.

Austin said it’s a great club to be involved with, and he enjoys the training environment.

‘‘I’m in my fifth year at the club now, I’ve been here since under-12s.

‘‘I have a few friends here, and the coaches are great and really supportive,’’ he said.

Having seen other club members like Clayton Scott and Adam Richardson snap up opportunities overseas to increase their soccer knowledge, Austin said he might be inclined to give that a go.

But he’s not 100 per cent sold yet — first he wants to complete his schooling at Echuca College.

‘‘I’d possibly like to do something like college, having seen the likes of Clayton (Scott) get a scholarship to America.

‘‘But to be honest I’m not sure, we’ll just see I guess,’’ he said.