Keighley Cougars recruitment complete

Keighley News: Put your shirt on us: Cougars players Sean Kelly, left, and Ben Stead model the new 2014 Keighley home top, which was officially launched at the club shop in the Airedale Shopping Centre on Saturday Put your shirt on us: Cougars players Sean Kelly, left, and Ben Stead model the new 2014 Keighley home top, which was officially launched at the club shop in the Airedale Shopping Centre on Saturday

Cougars player-coach Paul March has revealed his close-season recruitment drive for the 2014 campaign is done.

March has made over a handful of signings during the winter break, bringing Paul Handforth, Jack Lee, Lewis Graham, Ash Lindsay, James Craven and Chris Watson to Cougar Park.

Former Huddersfield Giants junior Ross Peltier has also returned to the club after a spell in Australia playing in the Queensland Cup.

The arrival of the new recruits offset a number of departures at the end of last season, which included long-serving stalwarts Craig Moss and Oliver Pursglove.

But March admitted: “That’s it now – there will be no more signings and I’m happy with what we’ve got.

“Paul Handforth will add something to us in the halves that we didn’t have last year but the other new players will also give us another dimension.

“Jack is still a young lad who is learning his trade but we’ve got players who know the Championship well. I’m happy with the signings we have made.”

Keighley-born prop Richard Moore last month signed a one-year contract to rejoin Wakefield Wildcats from Leeds Rhinos.

The former Bradford forward had been in talks to join Cougars on a longer-term deal in what would have represented a major coup for March. Despite Moore opting to stay in Super League, March said he still has an eye on the imposing front-rower.

He said: “I’m hoping that we can revisit that at some point. Richard is a Keighley boy and we want Keighley boys playing for Keighley.

“He just felt he had another year left in him playing at Super League level so good for him.

“If restructuring of the leagues happens, however, there will be other players from Super League who we may be able to attract.”

Cougars are not in action until the pre-season friendly at Halifax on January 5 but a number of March’s players got a run-out in James Feather’s testimonial match.

The player-coach added: “Buster’s testimonial was good to give some game time to a few lads such as Lewis Graham, Ash Lindsay and young Chris Watson, who all wanted to play.

“They had only known Buster for a few weeks, but they wanted to be a part of it and the game did the job for us in terms of giving the young lads a run-out.”

March paid tribute to club captain Feather, saying: “He’s Keighley through and through and the fans love him because they can see he’s passionate about the club.

“I’m glad he got his testimonial and it’s up to him now to kick on and keep performing like we know he can.

“I reckon he’s still got a few more years left in him and I know he wants to get into the coaching. I think he will make a good coach as well.”

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