THE arrival of Newcastle Thunder record points scorer Benn Hardcastle will ease the burden on Matty Beharrell, according to Cougars coach Craig Lingard.

Hardcastle was the first new recruit for next season and his ability with the ball in hand and with the boot means he is likely to be a key figure as Keighley look to improve on this year's seventh place finish in League One.

The half-back, who is Thunder’s all-time record points scorer after breaking Paul Thorman’s previous record inside just 55 games, was League One's second highest talisman last season with 223.

And Lingard believes he will be the ideal foil for scrum half Beharrell, who enjoyed an impressive first season at Cougar Park since signing from Swinton.

The Keighley coach said: "Benn is ideal for us. We expected a lot of Matty Beharell this year and put a lot of responsibility on his shoulders.

"People forget that Matty is still only a young kid himself. He is only a 24-year-old and we have expected a hell of lot from him.

"He's been our leader and organiser but we’ve also expected him to come up with match-winning moments and be that maverick type of player that he can be."

Beharrell was the points talisman for Cougars last season, finishing just 11 behind Hardcastle – who had a spell at York City Knights in 2014 – on 212.

The combination of the two playing together looks a mouth-watering prospect, especially as they have played together before at Newcastle, with Beharrell having spent time on dual registration there while on Hull KR's books and then joining Thunder permanently in 2015.

Lingard said: "They know each other’s games inside out so it should be a good partnership for them.

"It will be a massive help to Matty and let him play his natural game.

"We can put more responsibility on Benn because he is 27 so has got that experience and has been in the league for quite a few years.

"He is the record points scorer for Newcastle. He can take that responsibility on his shoulders and allow Matty to be freed up a bit."