FOLLOWING the conclusion of the 2022 Betfred League 1 season, the Keighley Cougars can today announce the players who will depart the club following promotion.
A total of 13 players are to leave Cougar Park as Head Coach Rhys Lovegrove and Head of Rugby Andrew Henderson continue to shape the clubs squad ahead of its return to the Championship following eight seasons in the third tier.
When asked for comment on the released list, Henderson said: “On behalf of the club, I want to take the opportunity to thank these players.
“I would like to wish those leaving the club or finishing their careers this year all the very best for what’s next, both in life and in rugby.
“Unfortunately, we can’t retain everyone for different reasons and hopefully the team of 2023 can build on the foundations that these men played a part in laying.
“Each and every one of them have contributed to the success of this season and were a part of a special team that will forever be remembered here in the history of the Keighley Cougars.
“Best wishes from myself, the coaching team, and everyone at the Keighley Cougars.”
As previously announced in the run up to the conclusion of this past season, both James Feather and Scott Murrell are retiring from professional Rugby League.
Also previously announced is that Junior Sa’u will return to the United States to take up the remainder of his contract with Old Glory DC in their national Rugby Union competition.
Arriving midway through the season from Old Glory, the centre contributed with 9 tries in his 8 appearances whilst at Cougar Park including a memorable brace on his final appearance away at Rochdale.
Bradley Ho will return to his parent club, Bradford Bulls, following a season-long loan in which the forward made 7 appearances, contributing the one try in the Good Friday victory away at Hunslet.
Amongst the other players to be leaving Keighley is long-serving prop Matthew Bailey.
‘Bails’ joined the club in November 2012 from the Bradford Bulls and in his decade with us made a total of 159 appearances, scoring 14 tries.
The club did offer the forward a deal for the 2023 season but unfortunately the two parties could not agree terms.
Fellow prop Dalton Desmond-Walker also departs following three seasons.
Joining in September 2019 from the West Wales Raiders, the popular Australian leaves on the back of 22 appearances with his sole try being that which rescued us a draw away at Hunslet in July 2021.
Another two long serving players, Spencer Darley and Aidan Scully, are also set to leave following the expiration of their contracts.
Darley arrived at the club midway through the 2019 season from the Feathersone Rovers and has made 15 appearances, scoring one try, in Keighley colours.
Originally with the club until the end of the 2018 season, debuting that year away at Workington, Scully returned to the club following the pandemic and made a further 3 appearances for the Cougars whilst bringing with him an enthusiasm that will be missed around the club.
After a season disrupted by injury, Anesu Mudoti will also be amongst those departing the club.
Scoring on debut in January’s Challenge Cup loss to Hunslet, the Zimbabwean born forward would miss the remainder of the year through knee and shoulder injuries.
Following just one season with the club, Anthony Dyne will be released.
Making two appearances after arriving from Montpellier in the French competition, Dyne moved on loan to the West Wales Raiders before having his season ended by a broken hand.
Kian Fisher, who also went on loan to West Wales before a season ending injury, will also depart after just one season at Cougar Park.
The final two players to be leaving us are Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e and Chris Cullimore.
Joining last season, ‘QLT’ scored 7 tries in 12 appearances during 2021 before spending this year on a season-long loan at the Sheffield Eagles.
Returning ahead of this campaign, hooker Cullimore has scored 3 tries in 19 appearances across his three spells with the club but after appearing in January’s Challenge Cup loss to Hunslet would move to the Midlands Hurricanes on loan for the rest of the season.
The club would like to place on record its thanks to all these players for their services to the club and being part of a memorable campaign.
We wish them all the best in their future endeavours.
CONTRACTED TO 2024: Toby Everett; Charlie Graham; Dan Parker; Alix Stephenson; Lewis Young
CONTRACTED TO 2023: Mo Agoro; Dane Chisholm; Keenan Dyer-Dixon; Billy Gaylor (Option for 2024); Kyle Kesik; Aaron Levy (Option for 2024); Josh Lynam; Jack Miller; Eddy Pettybourne; Nathan Roebuck; Brenden Santi; Harvey Spence; Kyle Trout; Jake Webster
PLAYER TO JOIN OTHER CLUB: Junior Sa’u (Old Glory DC RU)
PLAYERS RELEASED: Matthew Bailey; Chris Cullimore; Spencer Darley; Dalton Desmond-Walker; Anthony Dyne; Kian Fisher; Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e; Anesu Mudoti; Aidan Scully
PLAYERS RETIRING: James Feather; Scott Murrell
LOAN PLAYER RETURNING TO PARENT CLUB: Bradley Ho
By Joshua Chapman