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Cougars are March-ing on together
11:13am Thursday 20th September 2012 in Sport
Jason Demetriou has handed new player-coach Paul March a ringing endorsement and backed the Cougars to continue to prosper following his departure.
Demetriou has called time on his two-year tenure and is preparing to head home to Australia next month to take charge of Queensland Cup side Northern Pride.
He recommended team-mate March to chairman Garry Fawcett as his successor and reckons the hard-hitting forward will keep the club on an upward curve.
Demetriou arrived at Cougar Park two years ago, with the club having been relegated from the Championship and suffering financial problems.
He stopped the rot, restored belief and steered the Cougars to promotion back to the second tier at the first attempt.
In his second season, he presided over a respectable sixth-placed finish and a place in the play-offs, where they lost to Halifax after an agonising 28-24 defeat.
Demetriou said: “Obviously you want to win games and trophies but you’ve got to be honest and look where you’ve come from and where you’ve taken the club. When I came to Keighley they had been relegated and were in a pretty bad state on and off the field.
“We managed to re-group, and a lot of players who have come up have really pushed themselves and got better and become more professional.
“What we’ve tried to do over the past couple of years is create an environment that makes you want to wear the shirt.
“I think we’ve done that and it’s important that the directors and Marchy maintain that because these lads don’t get paid a lot of money.
“They do it because they love it, and if you can create an environment that they love to play in then those sorts of efforts just take control of themselves.”
Demetriou will joined through the Cougar Park exit door by Michael Korkidas, Semi Tadulala and Sam Obst but Ross Peltier, Sean Hesketh and Scott Law have been re-cruited and several existing squad members have penned new deals.
Demetriou added: “The club’s in good shape, it really is, and I hope the supporters get right behind the Cougars during the off-season and buy plenty of season tickets.
“At the end of the day they need the money to invest in more players because it’s going to be a tough competition again next year.
“The foundations are there now and it’s important the club continues to build.
“A lot of the players have come up from Championship One and got good experience this year.
“I think they will go to a new level next year and make the club even stronger.”