PULLING on the Keighley Cougars jersey once again and running out at Cougar Park will fill Ben Stead, and family, with pride.

After plying his trade at the likes of North Wales Crusaders, Hemel Stags, Gloucester All Golds and gaining a Masters degree in strength and conditioning, the 27-year-old is back in the red, green and white.

Stead, who can play half-back or hooker, says he is re-joining the club, which he left in 2014, at an exciting time after he was joined by fellow new signings including Kyle Kesik from Doncaster, Jake Webster, from Bradford Bulls and Mo Agoro, from Newcastle Thunder.

Stead said: "It feels really good.

"It's the chance to be back at the club where I started playing.

"My family still live in the area. They still want to go down and watch the home games. My mum and dad are really excited and proud. My auntie has been following the club for years and years.

"The club has got a good foundation in terms of off the pitch. They also have a good set of fans that we bond with. They are positive about the players and the team.

"I spent all of my junior playing years at Cougars, progressing through the scholarship ranks and first-team, as I grew up. They are my home team.

"I have always looked out for their results, to see if they have been doing well. I have always wanted them to succeed.

"When I start again it will be an exciting moment, fans have been wishing me well and all getting behind me.

"I will be proud to run out in a Keighley shirt. I was a junior at Cougars from four to five years old, then the scholarship system aged 12 around 2005 and 2006. I was then in the Reserves side from 2011 and signed for the first-team after the 2011 season.

"I made my debut in 2013 at Leigh. It was a good experience, as I scored two tries and was man of the match.

"I'm from Riddlesden, so the ground is only two minutes down the road from me. I watched my first Cougars game aged three or four."

Stead added there is a feel-good factor around Cougars and it is ready to lift off into a positive period.

He said: "They have done really well this season.

"We have made a massive statement with our signings this year. By the looks of it, signs are with the direction we are headed, that we definitely want to be pushing for promotion.

"There is a real buzz around the club.

"The club has been through good and bad periods. It was a bit of a bleak start this time last year. There are the right people in there. They want to bring that buzz back from the Cougarmania time."