Keighley Cougars chief Gary Fawcett: Play-offs not out of reach

Gary Fawcett

Gary Fawcett

First published in Sport by

COUGARS chairman Gary Fawcett is confident his side are well placed to beat the drop heading into Sunday’s trip to already-relegated Barrow.

Paul March’s men travel to Cumbria on the back of two successive wins which have encouraged hopes of making the play-offs.

After a trip to bottom-placed Barrow, Cougars host North Wales Crusaders before a trip to Dewsbury and a final-day home clash with Featherstone.

Fawcett said: “You would certainly say we would be favourites to beat Barrow on Sunday and likewise when we play North Wales Crusaders the following week.

“The lads are playing well and two wins from these next two games would certainly put us in a very good position to not only stay up but push towards the top eight and a possible play-off spot.”

Three of Cougars’ Championship rivals – Batley, Dewsbury and Doncaster – have been caught up in a dual-registration row amid claims they each fielded an ineligible Super League player on Sunday, July 27.

The issue has arisen because Championship clubs were not allowed to field dual-registration players who had not played three matches for them before the competition’s deadline day of Friday, July 25.

The three players in question are Huddersfield forward Jacob Fairbank, Bradford winger Sam Wood and Hull FC centre Ben Crooks, who all featured for Batley, Dewsbury and Doncaster respectively.

But Dewsbury chairman Mark Sawyer announced on Tuesday night that his club had no case to answer.

He said: “Having co-operated fully with the RFL during their inquiry into the dual-registration of Sam Wood, I would like to inform supporters and sponsors of Dewsbury Rams that the club has been found to have no case to answer.

“The inquiry found that we had acted entirely within the rules relating to dual-registration. Sam will remain at the Rams on loan terms until the end of the season to help alleviate the club’s current injury problems.”

Cougars have shied away from taking Super League players on dual-registration but they did have an informal agreement with Castleford last season.

Fawcett added: “Charlie Martin played a few times for us but we didn’t really like sticking people in for just one game.

“Even though it was more to our benefit than Castleford’s, there are obviously other Super League clubs who were insisting that certain players played at Championship clubs.”

Full back James Craven will be assessed after injury but Cougars have no other major concerns.

Last Sunday’s win at Swinton saw Cougars duo Paul White and Scott Law earn inclusion in the Kingstone Press Championship Team of the Week.

Cougars’ Under-20s side lost 48-24 at Featherstone last Thursday which saw Elliott Cosgrove make his comeback from a long-standing eye injury.

Jordan Whippy, Aaron Levy, Andy Gabriel and Joe Brier touched down and Ben Stead kicked four goals for the Cougars’ young guns, who travel to Oldham on Saturday in a 2.30pm kick-off at Whitebank Stadium.

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