Austin upbeat as Australia Cup assists indicate team-mate connection

Charlie Austin’s twin assists on his first Brisbane Roar start are evidence of a growing connection with his new team-mates, the striker said after Wednesday’s “perfect” first Australia Cup experience.

Though still developing match fitness, Austin shone on his competitive debut for the club with two key contributions to the Roar’s hard-earned 3-1 win over Heidelberg United in Melbourne.

The striker first set up Rahmat Akbari’s early opener with a deft flick-on, then provided the header which Henry Hore slammed home to restore the Roar’s lead after a short-lived equaliser.

While yet to test himself against Isuzu UTE A-League opposition, Austin has full faith in the strides his new side are making.

“I won’t know what the other teams are about until we play them,” he told 10 Football. “All I know is that we’re strong, we’re growing game by game, week by week.

“I’m learning from the lads and they’re learning from me. You can see that with the link-up play with me and Rahm for the first goal, and even the second goal when I’ve gone to the back post and Henners is in the middle.

“I can learn from them as much as they can learn from me. I’m just here to help Brisbane Roar go forward.”

Austin’s efforts have already seen the Roar go forward into the Round of 16, with Nikola Mileusnic confirming the victory late on with a stunning free-kick.

It was a night the former Premier League player enjoyed, and one that reminded him of many previous Cup encounters.

“It was perfect,” he said. “I’ve played in Cup competitions like this back home and the underdogs always have the right to have a go. They’ve got nothing to lose.

“I thought we did well the first 20 minutes. We needed that second goal, and half-time probably came at the wrong time for us. We came out second half and I thought we were probably [still in the sheds] for the first 10 minutes.

“Gave the penalty away and that was probably the rocket we needed.

“[But we] got back to make it 2-1 and then Niko scores a wonderful free-kick which puts the game to bed, and rightly so.”