Great Scott delights Cougars' coach

Scott Leatherbarrow has been tipped to impress

Scott Leatherbarrow has been tipped to impress

First published in Sport by

Paul March has tipped Cougars newcomer Scott Leatherbarrow to take the Championship by storm this season.

Player-coach March has recruited the rookie half-back from Wigan and believes he can prove a major influence at Keighley.

The 22-year-old Wiganer played for England at Under-15 and 16 levels and progressed through the Warriors’ academy system before spending time at South Wales Scorpions on dual registration.

With little prospect of regular first-team rugby at Wigan, Leather-barrow joined Cougars on a one-year deal after turning down offers from a number of rival Championship clubs in favour of Keighley.

He starred during last Sunday’s pre-season friendly 23-20 win over Barrow and March believes his playmaking qualities will continue to come to the fore.

March – who takes his side to Batley for their third pre-season friendly on Sunday – said: “I believe Scott will make a real mark on the Championship this year.

“He’s got a great footballing brain and on Sunday against Barrow he proved once again that he can play at this level.

“The half-back partnership between Scott and Danny Jones is working well at the minute and long may it continue.

“We just need to keep them injury-free and playing consistently.

“Scott is working for our Found-ation so he’s getting to know people around the community as well.

“I believe he will prove a great signing for us.”

March had seen his men heavily beaten by Halifax in their opening pre-season friendly at Cougar Park on Boxing Day.

But tries from Paul White, Danny Lawton, Joe Chandler and Danny Jones, plus three conversions and a drop-goal from Leatherbarrow, gave Cougars victory in Cumbria last weekend.

March, who lined up at loose forward against Barrow, is now ready for the challenge of facing a Batley side coached by his old boss John Kear.

He added: “Against Halifax we had a lot of kids on the field but we were a lot stronger at Barrow and it showed.

“We played well in parts and improved from the Halifax game.

“That’s all I can ask from the players, so we looked at the video again on Tuesday and talked about where we can improve again at Batley.”

Batley have emerged as a respected force in recent years, first under Karl Harrison and now under the guidance of former England boss Kear.

March, who played under Kear at Wakefield, declared: “We want to be like Batley and be consistent in the Championship.

“The likes of Batley, Sheffield and a few other sides have been there or thereabouts for the past few years now – in and around the play-off places.

“That’s the kind of club we’re striving towards becoming and it will be a big test this weekend because I know John Kear has improved his squad massively from last year.

“We’ve been looking forward to it all week and it will be a good marker for us before we played them in the first game of the season.”

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