KEIGHLEY Cougars centre Jake Webster has been awarded a 12-month testimonial by the Rugby Football League to reward his services to the sport.

Webster, who began his career in Australia before moving to the United Kingdom in late 2007, has been granted his testimonial by the sport’s governing body as a reward for his efforts within the game both on and off the field in the last two decades.

The executive board of the RFL have granted the 12-month period on the grounds of Webster’s service to the sport at rugby league in both hemispheres after making just short of 350 senior career appearances, as well as his community work for a number of the clubs he has played for, including the Cougars.

Speaking of the decision to grant his testimonial, Webster said: “I am delighted to be awarded a testimonial for the next twelve months.

“I would like to thank Keighley as a club for helping me with my application and the RFL’s executive board for granting my testimonial.

“Personally, I have given my entire adult life to the sport of rugby league while trying to give something back to the respective communities I have represented throughout my career.

“To represent the six clubs I have, and my country in New Zealand, has made me immensely proud and the support I received from the differing fanbases has meant the world to me, and I hope they will support me once more over the next year.

“The support of my family and loved ones throughout the past 22 years since I first signed professionally with Melbourne can also not be underestimated as they have had to give up a lot to help me achieve my goals and ambitions.

“I have a number of exciting events planned and I’m now looking forward to my launch event and shirt launch, which will hopefully be in March.

“I’ve made no secret that the upcoming season will probably be my last as a player and I’m looking to go out on a high with both my testimonial and getting Keighley promoted to the Championship.”

Signing his first professional contract in 2000 with the Melbourne Storm, Webster went on to make his debut for the club during the 2003 season before moving onto the Gold Coast Titans ahead of their inaugural NRL campaign in 2007.

During his early career, he also broke into the New Zealand squad and play a pivotal role in the side that defeated both Great Britain and Australia to win the 2005 Tri-Nations series.

After a single season with the Titans, the centre made the decision to move to this country and sign with Hull Kingston Rovers.

Five years at Craven Park were followed by a move to Castleford Tigers, where Webster spent six seasons at The Jungle.

Becoming a firm fans' favourite at both clubs, he was a key member of teams held in high regard at both the Super League sides.

Webster was a part of the Rovers squad that finished fourth in 2009 under Justin Morgan before his time at Castleford saw the centre play a pivotal role in both the Tigers' Challenge Cup final squad of 2014 and Super League Leaders' Shield winning team of 2017.

Unfortunately, both of those outfits fell at the final hurdle to Leeds Rhinos.

As he headed towards the back end of his career, and following the birth of his first son, he made the decision to transition into the part-time game and join Bradford Bulls.

Spending a season at Odsal, Webster scored a try in the Bulls' famous Challenge Cup victory over the Rhinos in 2019 before eventually arriving at Cougar Park.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and injury restricting his game time on the field, the value of him off the pitch has proved crucial to the club, as he has led a number of projects for the club in his guise as ‘Captain Cougar’ in the local community.

His work has involved school projects with the Cougarmania Foundation, assisting with holiday camps at Cougar Park, and a project with children in care that is run in conjunction with West Yorkshire Police.

This follows similar roles at previous clubs, with the former New Zealand international regularly fundraising for a local hospice while with Castleford and partaking in numerous projects while at his first English club, Hull KR.

Going into the 2022 season and his testimonial year, Jake has to date made a total of 346 career appearances for six clubs and New Zealand since making his professional debut.

The start date for the 12-month period granted will be in either late March or early April, with details, when confirmed, to be announced on both the Keighley Cougars and Jake Webster Testimonial social media channels.