Keighley Cougars have received a timely boost ahead of the new Betfred League 1 season, thanks to the announcement of a brand-new broadcasting deal for 2024.

They received an early blow to their promotion hopes this week, with the news that Josh Martin, the former Whitehaven utility back who only signed for the club in mid-December, has been released from his contract at Cougar Park so he can return to his native Australia.

The club cited homesickness and personal reasons as the reason for Martin’s departure.

And while he will sadly not be around to help Cougars in their promotion push from League 1 in 2024, the club have had that blow softened slightly.

While the Championship clubs, including Bradford Bulls, are still awaiting a satisfactory TV deal, something has at least been sorted for the third tier.

The RFL have confirmed a deal with broadcaster ‘The Sportsman’, who will be showing live and exclusive coverage of a host of fixtures across five competitions.

Those competitions are the Men’s and Women’s Challenge Cup, the Wheelchair and Women’s Super League, and League 1.

Oldham are the favourites for the title in the third tier, their thumping 46-10 friendly win at Keighley on Boxing Day only strengthening that viewpoint, but Cougars have retained and recruited well themselves in the off-season, and will be confident of an immediate return to the Championship for 2025.