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Austin injury free and thriving

Pack Hype - Hawthorn (Rd19) The Bulldogs will bring their recent great form into a huge clash with Hawthorn this Sunday. Woof.
Mark Austin of the Bulldogs and Brendon Goddard of the Bombers compete for the ball during the 2014 AFL Round 18 match between the Western Bulldogs and the Essendon Bombers at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on July 20, 2014. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Mark Austin of the Bulldogs and Brendon Goddard of the Bombers compete for the ball during the 2014 AFL Round 18 match between the Western Bulldogs and the Essendon Bombers at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on July 20, 2014. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)

An injury free season has previously eluded Mark Austin but this season, the defender is enjoying an uninterrupted run of football and his teammates are benefiting from it.

Showing the versatility to play on a range of opponents, the 25-year-old has made the third tall role his own since breaking into the side in the round 13 win against Collingwood.

“There’s a little bit of freedom there I guess, you do have different match ups,” Austin said.

“It’s great that I can add that to my game and week to week there might not be the best matchup [but] the Club can still have confidence in me to play on a small opponent or one who can run a bit more with better endurance.

“On the back of that trying to nullify them and then obviously help out Roughie (Jordan Roughead) and Moz (Dale Morris) with the bigger, more damaging guys.”

Poised to play his seventh consecutive senior game on Sunday against Hawthorn, the 25-year-old’s streak is the second longest of his seven year career - playing nine games straight in 2012.

Austin said the Hawks – the number one attacking side in the AFL — will pose a series of challenges for the back six, and that his fellow defenders will need to be disciplined to beat their direct opponents.

“It’s a tough task having the Hawks over in Launceston… I watched their game on the weekend and it’s the same every week. It’s going to be a challenge - as every week is,” he said.

“They have a good even spread of goal kickers so all of us have to be on top of our game and helping each other in the air and on the ground as much as possible.”

Austin’s approach to his football this season has been relatively simple, and that is to keep doing the team things well.

The 25-year-old is aiming to maintain his spot in the starting lineup for the remainder of the season and hold off his in-form teammates in the VFL  who are also putting in strong performances.

“Just getting that consistency with playing and the form comes with that,” he said.

“I’d like to stay in the team, play some good footy and get a few wins to finish off the year.

“For myself personally, it’s about not over complicating it and keeping it basic, doing the team things that got me into the team for the last six week and are going to keep me in the team.”