HAMISH Barnes admitted his scoring debut for Cougars was a "dream come true" and is now aiming to cement his place in Paul March's side.

The 22-year-old centre from Halifax began training with Keighley in February and, after scoring in a friendly against Victoria Rangers, he signed a deal for the rest of the 2015 campaign.

He was handed an opportunity in Sunday's 54-20 win at Hemel Stags after Halifax recalled on-loan Rikki Sheriffe, opening the door for Barnes – who took his chance by scoring a brace of tries.

"I was playing for Halifax Irish and then got to picked to play for Yorkshire, being selected to represent BARLA's Great Britain Under-23s on their tour to Jamaica," he said.

"As I'm half-Jamaican, Jamaica asked me if I wanted to play for them in Canada and then Scott Lindsey at Cougars got in touch with me about a trial.

"I can play full back or wing but obviously, with centre being my position, Rikki going back to Halifax opened the door for me against Hemel.

"I had been training with the first team, so I just slotted in and made sure I did everything to try and get picked again this week at Newcastle.

"My first goal is to be Marchy's regular first-team centre and learn as much as I can from the players around me."

Barnes works as a warehouse operative in Halifax but has a desire to play rugby in a full-time environment.

He said: "I did all my junior years at Siddal and grew up supporting Halifax. My dad Anthony played for the club, so I was always down at Thrum Hall and then The Shay.

"I want to play full-time rugby in the next few years and that's something I think about quite a lot actually. But my main focus is on establishing myself at Cougar Park."

Meanwhile, Cougars have confirmed the release of Luke Haigh, who joined the club following his release from Hunslet Hawks in March last year and made his debut in a 40-14 victory at Rochdale Hornets.

The hooker went on to make 22 appearances, scoring two tries – both of which came in May's victory over Dewsbury Rams at Cougar Park.

Player-coach March said: "Luke has left due to work and college commitments. He's just getting too far behind with his college work.

"We have come to an agreement that he will be released and I understand he'll be playing for Thornhill Trojans."