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Departing Demetriou determined to leave Keighley Cougars on high
Jason Demetriou is targeting a top-four finish as he bids to bow out from Cougars on a glorious high.
He will return home to Australia at the end of the current campaign, ending a 13-year stint in the UK as a player and coach, leaving Paul March to take over at Cougar Park from next year.
Demetriou, 36, is to take up a two-year contract as head coach at Northern Pride – a feeder side for the North Queensland Cowboys – in the Queensland Cup.
Yet Demetriou, whose men take on Dewsbury at home on Sunday (2pm), said: “I want to finish this year with Cougars on a high.
“What I’m doing next year will take care of itself and has nothing to do with the goals we’ve set ourselves this year.
“I’ve come out and said what I’m doing now because it gives Marchy a chance to sign players for next year.
“But in the meantime nothing changes as far as I’m concerned. I want to make the play-offs and then I want to have a good crack at the title.
“I’ve spoken to the players individually but we’ll go through it as a team – my decision to go home and Marchy taking over – then we’ll put that to bed.
“This weekend is about top six and if we win this weekend, we’re guaranteed top six.
“From there we can start looking at top four.”
Demetriou was appointed at Cougar Park in Dec-ember 2010 and enjoyed outstanding success in his debut campaign.
He guided Cougars to promotion with a stirring victory over Workington in the Co-operative Champion-ship One play-off final at Warrington last October.
That allowed Demetriou to attract a clutch of former Super League stars to the club during the winter, including ex-Wakefield team-mates Semi Tadulala, Sam Obst, Michael Kork-idas and March.
Demetriou said: “When I first joined Keighley, I always said that if I got the opportunity to go home I would take it.
“The club have been wanting me to sign a new deal for a couple of months now.
“I thought I’d give myself until the end of July to see what opportunities were out there.
“I’m someone who likes to see out his contract at clubs and I did send my CV to Super League clubs to see if there was any opportunities out there, but there wasn’t anything going.
“I then got a message from Shane McNally, my former coach at Wakefield, saying there was an opportunity in North Queens-land.
“I talked to them about what I had done here at Keighley and they were very impressed. They couldn’t wait to get me over there.
“The opportunity that Keighley gave me has been fantastic and I want to make sure that I finish the year on a high and repay the faith they showed in me two years ago.”
Aside from forward Richie Jones, Demetriou has a fully-fit squad to choose from for Sunday’s game.
Cougars released a statement last Friday announcing the impending changes.
It read: “Head coach Jason Demetriou is going back to Australia at the end of the season, so the club wishes him and his family the very best for the future and every success.
“A special thanks goes to him for the professionalism and success he has brought the club.
“The club is pleased to announce that we have agreed terms for Paul March to take over the head coach role for the start of next season.
“The existing management team will support him and we hope the supporters will welcome Paul into his new role in 2013.”