KEIGHLEY Cougars are poised to make a sensational swoop for Bradford Bulls ace Jake Webster, the Keighley News understands.

The 35-year-old Australian is set to become Cougars' fourth signing of the close season and the club's owner Mick O'Neill says the "marquee" capture makes a statement.

It is understood Webster is due to sign a two-year deal at Cougar Park.

The centre is set to leave Bulls, who are going through a change of ownership after owner Andrew Chalmers announced he was selling the club last weekend, halfway through a two-year contract. If the deal is confirmed, it would leave Bulls with just 13 contracted players, as they wait to come out of special measures.

Webster started his career in his native Australia with NRL giants Melbourne Storm in 2003, before moving to Gold Coast Titans two years later.

He moved to the UK in 2007, lining up for spells with Hull KR, Castleford Tigers, York City Knights and then Bulls this year.

O'Neill said: "It's great, he's our marquee signing. He is a powerhouse.

"This signing could pull us altogether.

"We are going to call him Captain Cougar. He is very fit and a hell of a player. It's a big signing for us.

"We've had a good year this year. We need success in the league next year now. I look at Jake and he is the man.

"He is near the end of his career. We have plans for him."

Speaking last month, Webster revealed his desire to keep playing next year. He said: "I'm no spring chicken any more so hopefully I can be the presence that helps talk to people on the pitch and at training and lets them know what they're doing well in the game.

"I'll keep chipping away as a player."

Meanwhile, Webster becomes Cougars' latest signing of a busy pre-season.

They have also recruited Jamaican international winger Mo Agoro on a two-year deal from Newcastle Thunder.

Meanwhile, Ben Stead has returned to Cougar Park on a one-year deal from North Wales Crusaders.

The Cougars scholarship product from Riddlesden also featured for England Universities in 2017 making the World XIII line-up as half-back of the tournament at the World Cup in Australia.

Former Holy Family School pupil Stead studied for a Masters degree in Gloucestershire and has previous experience at League One level playing for Crusaders and Coventry Bears, where he has established himself as a strong attacking halfback with a damaging kicking game.

Sydney-born prop forward Dalton Desmond-Walker has joined from League One rivals West Wales Raiders.

O'Neill also revealed Cougars missed out on what would have been another high-profile signing.

He claims Cougars tried to sign Keegan Hirst, who subsequently opted to sign for Betfred Championship side Halifax after leaving Wakefield Trinity.