KEIGHLEY Cougars have sent two players out on loan in an attempt to increase their game time.

Experienced half-back Ben Stead is currently in his third spell with Keighley, but with players like Jack Miller and Oscar Thomas ahead of him in the pecking order, he has found minutes hard to come by,

But Cougars’ fellow League 1 team Hunslet have brought him in on an initial two-week loan to bolster their half-back ranks, and perhaps offer guidance to young stand-off Harry Williams, who made the move to the Parksiders from amateur club West Bowling over the winter.

Hunslet currently sit fourth in the table after five games, with Keighley sat second following four wins from four.

Keighley News: Billy Walkley evades the challenge of Harry Williams to score in Keighley's league win at Hunslet on Good Friday.Billy Walkley evades the challenge of Harry Williams to score in Keighley's league win at Hunslet on Good Friday. (Image: JT Sports Media.)

Stead is joined in temporarily departing Cougar Park by winger Liam Copland, who has joined Leigh Leopards’ reserves for the time being.

Copland has spent over a year out with an ACL injury, but despite his arduous journey back to fitness, Cougars had seen enough from him down the years to snap him up ahead of the 2024 campaign.

And in preparing him for a return to League 1 rugby, Keighley’s director of rugby Jake Webster feels the move will benefit the speedster.

He said: “Going on loan to play at Leigh Leopards’ Reserves offers Liam a platform to ease back into competitive rugby league.

“The reserves games provide him with an opportunity to regain match fitness, sharpen his skills, and rebuild his confidence in a less pressured environment.

“Moreover, it allows him to adapt gradually to the intensity of the game after a prolonged absence due to injury.”

With Copland and Stead elsewhere for the weekend, Cougars head coach Matt Foster has had to name a 21-man squad for the league trip to Newcastle Thunder tomorrow without either of them in it.

The provisional squad can be viewed below:

The key takeaways are that while two new signings are in line to make their debut, in the form of outside back Junior Nuu and forward Mitch Revell, a couple of big names are missing.

Club stalwart Dan Parker is rested for this week, while Lachlan Lanskey fails to make the cut.

The latter injured his ankle in last weekend’s win over North Wales Crusaders, and is expected to be out for the next two to four weeks.