KEIGHLEY Cougars are this evening delighted to announce the arrival of Zach Braham.
The prop forward arrives at Cougar Park on a one-year deal from Betfred League One rivals Hunslet RL, becoming the Cougars fourth new addition ahead of the 2021 season.
A long-term target of Head Coach Rhys Lovegrove, Braham brings a two- and half-year spell in South Leeds to an end to join the Cougars.
Zach will add experience and size to the Cougars forward pack as the club looks to push for promotion, with the prop also looking for to seal himself a possible spot in the Jamaica squad for next autumn’s Rugby League World Cup.
Lovegrove said of his latest signing: “I’m really excited about bringing Zach into both the team and the club.
“He is a really ambitious middle who is excited about joining us down here at Cougar Park and is really eager to develop and use the platform we are presenting him with to push himself and his career.
“He brings a lot of punch in attack and he carries the ball very strongly, in my opinion he’s one of the strongest ball carriers in the division, and is very good at bending the opposition line back to gain those extra metres.
“This is something I am very excited about adding to this group of players, we have a great group here already but I really wanted to add someone who could bend that line back and cause the opposition defence problems and this is what Zach brings with him.
“Zach is a really good human being and will offer a lot to the club culturally off the field, he is a very happy go lucky guy but is also very ambitious about his personal development and where he wants to end up in his career.”
Chairman Mick O’Neill added: “I’m incredibly pleased that we’ve brought Zach into the club and he will beef up the pack with his size and power.
“He is a proven forward at this level, which Rhys feels is required to help bring success to the club and is a strong presence that will be welcomed in the dressing room.
“Zach will be great for those who play around him as he will punch the line and help bring on the younger lads within the pack and the squad.
“These are exciting times for the Keighley Cougars and I’m sure this latest addition will be testament to that.”
After beginning his career coming through the youth systems at both Hull FC and the Sheffield Eagles, Zach dropped out of the professional game after departing the Eagles and joined amateur side Doncaster Toll Bar.
Braham caught the eye of Doncaster, who invited the forward for a trial ahead of the 2016 season, and his impressive performances in pre-season friendlies convinced then coach Gary Thornton to give him a contract with the club.
Zach would go on to spend two and a half seasons at the Keepmoat Stadium, establishing himself as one of League One’s best forwards, before departing midway through the 2018 season to re-unite with Thornton at Hunslet.
Despite suffering a break to his forearm during his time with the Parksiders, Braham continued to impress and won the club’s most improved player award in 2019 whilst being regularly praised for his professionalism and work ethic.
Speaking of his decision to join the club, Braham said: “I’d like to thank Rhys and everybody at Keighley Cougars for the opportunity to play here.
“I’m excited with the way Rhys wants to play, and I feel we will be a very successful club in the coming season.
“I already know the majority of the boys and I have played under Rhys before at Doncaster, so I know what he expects of me.
“I just can’t wait to get into pre-season training now and put the work in along with the boys so we can start getting the results on the field and hopefully that will bring with it promotion to the Championship.
“It’s a massive club and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in with the lads.”
By Joshua Chapman