Keighley Cougars have expressed their disappointment over Josh Martin’s shock departure, just two-and-a-half-weeks into his stint with the club.

The club said Martin cited homesickness and personal reasons for his return to Australia and that they were happy to accommodate a release from his contract.

Cougars’ director of rugby, Jake Webster, said: “Although Josh’s time at the club was extremely short and we are disappointed to lose a player, we do wish him well and hope he can find a space where he can get the required support he needs from his family at this time.”

The Australian has experience of playing in England before, having spent the 2022 campaign in the Championship with Whitehaven.

Martin played 19 times for the Cumbrians, helping himself to four tries.

The 26-year-old, who can play on the wing, in the centres or at full-back, had linked up with Keighley with immediate effect in mid-December.

He looked set make his debut in their Boxing Day friendly against Oldham at Cougar Park, but when announcing their line-up for the clash, which Cougars lost 46-10, the club informed fans that Martin was unavailable due to a registration issue in Australia.