BRENDON Rawlins may not have played rugby union since he was a teenager and has only attended two recent training sessions at Rose Cottage but reckons that he can help Keighley Rugby Union Football Club avoid relegation from Yorkshire Division One.

The 34-year-old Australian, who achieved legendary status by making over 200 appearances for Keighley Cougars in ten seasons from 2009-18, made his union debut for Keighley as a replacement during their crucial home match against Pontefract.

It was seen as a must-win game for Danny McGee's team, and Keighley won it in thrilling fashion 36-31, gaining five league points to Pontefract's one, meaning their fate is now back in their own hands as they now only trail Ponte by two points but crucially have a game in hand.

Rawlins, who played for the last 17 minutes plus a healthy chunk of stoppage time, admitted: "I do not even know where we are in the table but the lads said that it was a must-win game and they were all buzzing at training on Thursday night and before the match in the warm-up.

"I have only been here a few weeks but a few of the lads have come back (Sam Booker and Adam Horsfall for example) and they are confident, and the young lads bring enthusiasm, which is good, and I will try and bring enthusiasm, talk and professionalism."

Rawlins' time at Cougars ended at the conclusion of the 2018 season, where he helped his side to a ninth-placed finish, and he revealed: "I missed out on last season when things went pear-shaped at Cougars and I also had too many commitments outside of rugby - such as family and my shift work at Wakefield Prison - to stay down there.

"I have played about six matches of league for the prison team since but this was my first game of union since I was at school 16 years ago."

As for the differences between the 13-a-side code and the 15-a-side code, Rawlins said: "With ball in hand, union is a lot like league but there are obviously the scrums and the line-outs, and also where you need to be from kick-offs which is a little bit different.

"I slotted into the back row, which is a more important position in union than in league, and I was just trying to get my head round things while I was watching but it was definitely nerve-wracking.

"They are a good bunch of lads and they helped me a lot and told me where I needed to be, but I am always a good talker so I got the lads buzzing a bit more when they were flat out."