English international Josh Hodgson has left a monumental hole in the Raiders’ line-up following a serious knee injury suffered during the Rugby League World Cup.
Before joining the Raiders outfit in 2015, Austin spent a season in Concord with the Wests Tigers, filling in almost every position bar prop for the team.
It’s heavily touted that Garvey will start the year in the number nine jersey, but it seems Austin may make the move to hooker, allowing Aidan Sezer to return to the familiar five-eighth role and promote recruit Sam Williams to halfback.
Williams rejoins the Raiders for his third stint at the club, following a short-term Super League berth.
Hodgson is expected to return during the Origin period midseason, though Austin continues to firm as a left-field replacement for the Englishman.
As it stands, Austin and Sezer will start the season in the halves with Garvey at hooker, but don’t be surprised to see Williams start the year in first-grade on the bench.
Hivili is coming off a strong World Cup campaign for Tonga, though is expected to spend the majority of 2018 playing for the Mounties in reserve grade.
Hodgson has begun rehab and appears to be travelling along nicely after Canberra posted a video on Instagram of the hooker running on an anti-gravity treadmill.