JOHN Kear wishes the influential Joe Keyes had been available to him earlier in the season after forming a formidable partnership with Jordan Lilley.

The half-back pairing had its first outing on June 23 in the 24-20 win against Halifax, when Keyes returned from a long-standing back injury.

That issue kept him out for the first part of the season, but he hasn't looked back since.

The Irish international has started all six games following Halifax, including the recent 46-22 victory at Barrow.

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Kear said: "They're good players aren't they and you can see how they tend the team around the park, how they end sets, and they're smart players.

"They're getting better week-on-week.

"The only sad thing for me is we didn't have Joe from earlier in the season."

One player who has been in and out of the side across the campaign is full-back Brandon Pickersgill.

His longest run in the side came at the start of the season, when the 22-year-old started seven games in a row.

But, Pickersgill put in arguably his best performance of 2019 against Barrow.

Kear said: "He played really well.

"To make one mistake in these conditions, it's pretty good, I'll tell you.

"Because when those balls were put up in the air, they're swirling everywhere and obviously kickers put spirals on them as well.

"So it makes it really difficult to field.

"I thought all our back three did a good job actually looking after the kicks."