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Ex-Leigh Leopards man proves to be the hero as Championship new boys make statement

Keighley Cougars have put the rest of the Championship on notice.

The division’s new boys after an invincible season in League One have made a through major signings not least former Man of Steel and former Leeds Rhinos and Castleford Tigers star Luke Gale though he didn’t feature today as they defeated Newcastle Thunder away from home.

Former Hull KR man Ben Crooks, ex-Leigh Leopards forward Mark Ioane and Sadiq Adebiyi, formerly of Wakefield, did all debut however.

That said, it was the Thunder who started the better with Evan Lawther twisting in a tackle to ground the ball and give Newcastle a 4-0 lead.

Cougars halfback Dane Chisholm darted through to get a try back it seemed but the try was disallowed as the referee gave a penalty to Newcastle for a ball steal.

Adebiyi laide down a real marker with a big hit as Ben Crooks seemed at the hub of all the action but the Cougars couldn’t find a way to score before the break.

However, it only took four minutes for the Cougars to score in the second half however. After quick ball movement Robbie Storey fended off tackles making it 6-4.

But soon Newcastle had the lead again as a kick caused havoc and Brad Gallagher capitalised to make it 8-6 to the Thunder. But there was soon more havoc as the Cougars kept the ball alive allowing Alix Stephenson to get over to make it 12-8.

It was back to back tries too as Storey stormed through for a second to create daylight on the scoreboard for the first time today.

Needing a try, Newcastle bounced back scoring deep from a scrum with Connor Bailey scoring after a sensational break only for Hull KR loanee Jack Potter to have a moment he would like to forget as he missed a conversion effort from right in front leaving it 18-12.

Needing a decisive try, a debutant in the shape of Ioane powered through to give Keighley a fourth try and wrap up a 24-12 win.

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