Australian prop Brendon Rawlins has arrived back at Keighley five months after returning to Australia to complete his application for a work permit.
Having spent two years playing for the Cougars, Rawlins was initially refused supported player status by the RFL but that decision was reversed on appeal.
He went back to Australia at the end of February after the UK Border Agency insisted he returned Down Under to complete his application process.
But, until a little more than two weeks ago, there was frustratingly no progress with his visa application. The Cougars had appealed to the RFL and Keighley’s MP Ann Cryer for help on behalf of Brendon, without being able to find out what was causing the hold up.
Then, with the help of other clubs experiencing similar difficulties, the Cougars were able to call upon assistance from a member of the High Commission staff in Australian capital Canberra and that resolved the situation.
Brendon finally flew into Manchester Airport this morning (Wednesday) and reported back to Cougar Park this afternoon.
“There were times when I thought I was never going to be allowed to return,” admitted Brendon. “I was becoming pretty despondent and I’m really grateful for everybody in Keighley standing by me.
“That kind of support went a long way during those dark moments back in Australia.
“Now I’m just looking forward to start playing for the Cougars again and I just need to prove my fitness”.
Helen Carter, the Cougars General Manager, said: “It’s so good to have Brendon back at the club.
“Not only is he a good player in his own right, he is widely respected within the Keighley community and has a great rapport with our fans.
“We fought hard to bring him back because he’s valuable to this club and it’s great to have him back in the Cougar family”.