KEIGHLEY Cougars have announced that Rory Nettleton has signed a one-year deal with the club.

Nettleton, a prop forward by trade, has signed a deal for the 2022 League 1 season following a successful trial period with the club throughout February.

Head of rugby Andrew Henderson said of the decision to sign Nettleton to a permanent deal: “Rory came to us looking for an opportunity and we were happy to offer him a trial.

“Rhys Lovegrove (Cougars' head coach) was impressed with how Rory acquitted himself throughout this period and how he engaged and interacted within the group.

“We both felt that Rory has potential to develop further in our environment and could offer further value to the team.”

A product of the academy system at the Newcastle Thunder, the Geordie native came through the ranks at Kingston Park.

During this time, he continued his education both on and off the field as a part of the successful rugby league set-up at Northumbria University.

His performances earned him a call-up to the Yorkshire academy origin squad that faced the Australian Schoolboys side in the autumn of 2018.

Nettleton was then appointed the Thunder’s Under-19s captain and continued to impress for the academy outfit, meaning he was rewarded with a first team contract with the club for the 2020 campaign.

Making his first and only appearance in the Thunder first team set-up in a pre-season friendly against Whitehaven, the Covid-19 pandemic brought an end to Nettleton’s time with his hometown club.

Departing Newcastle ahead of the return of the sport outside of Super League in 2021, the forward spent last season with the Gateshead Storm and Jarrow Vikings before heading to France to sign with the Montpellier Sharks.

Returning home from across the channel in the autumn of last year, he initially joined the York City Knights on trial and featured in their pre-season victory over the Midlands Hurricanes, before being released by James Ford and arriving at Cougar Park for a trial period.

His performances in training caught the eye of both Lovegrove and Henderson, who have now made the decision to sign Nettleton to the club on a permanent basis.

The young talent has been assigned the number 34 jersey for the forthcoming season and is kindly sponsored for 2022 by Paul Wilson.