Tigers utility Blake Austin has joined the Raiders on a three-year NRL deal.

Canberra have signed Wests Tigers utility Blake Austin on a three-season NRL deal commencing in 2015.

Austin was one of the Tigers’ best in a disappointing 2014, but was released a year early from his contract to take up a playmaking spot at the Raiders.

The signing represents something of a coup for Canberra coach Ricky Stuart who has struggled to recruit players to the nation’s capital.

Raiders boss Don welcomed the acquisition of the 23-year-old, who also spent three seasons with Penrith from 2011-13.

“Blake’s an exciting young player who will be a fantastic addition to our squad,” Furner said in a statement on Tuesday.

“He’s been in outstanding form in 2014 and we are confident he can bring that form to Canberra in 2015 and continue it with the Raiders.”

Under new Tigers coach Jason Taylor, Austin, who has played 35 NRL games, appeared set to struggle to cement a regular halves spot behind young guns Mitchell Moses and Luke Brooks, and has moved to Canberra for the chance at a fulltime playmaking berth.

Austin’s release comes hot on the heels of forward James Gavet’s move to Brisbane.

Taylor said he wished both players good luck.

“On behalf of Wests Tigers I’d like to thank both Blake and James for their efforts while here at the club and wish them well at their new clubs,” Taylor said.

“Both players have made it abundantly clear that they saw their future elsewhere and therefore we had no hesitation in granting their release.

“We understand that Wests Tigers supporters will be disappointed in their decision but it gives the club an opportunity to review the playing roster for the coming years.

“We’re committed to building a strong club for the future and need to be sure that the players join me on this journey.”