HEAD coach Rhys Lovegrove has today confirmed the Keighley Cougars retained list following the conclusion of the 2021 season.

A total of seven players will depart the club following the expiration of their contracts on November 30.

Heading the list of those players leaving the club is Serbia international Jason Muranka, who leaves the club following three seasons at Cougar Park.

The back rower had a breakout year in 2019 after joining from Doncaster, winning the club’s Player of the Year award as a result of his performances, but found chances limited following the return of rugby league earlier this year after the Covid-19 pandemic.

He leaves the Cougars with a record of 26 appearances and nine tries.

Another player who is departing after three seasons with Keighley is Jack Coventry.

The prop also joined ahead of the 2019 season and has been a mainstay of the side since his arrival but he now leaves Cougar Park after five tries in 38 appearances.

Hooker Ryan Wright, who has had three separate spells with the club over the past four seasons, will also be leaving the club.

Returning ahead of 2020 from Hunslet, after a loan spell with the Cougars in 2019, ‘Wrighty’ made a total of 35 appearances in Keighley colours, registering five tries in the process.

Ben Stead leaves the club after recently relocating to Coventry with his partner for work purposes.

A product of the Cougars scholarship system of years gone by, he made eight appearances across his two spells with his hometown club.

He registered 14 points for the club during this time through three tries, two of which came on his professional debut away at Leigh in 2013, and a single conversion that came in the 2014 Challenge Cup quarter-final loss to the Widnes Vikings.

Two more players with hometown roots in the town also leave the Cougars in the form of Bobby Darbyshire and Morgan Robinson.

Both these players joined the club ahead of this season from Wakefield Trinity and Keighley Albion respectively.

Darbyshire made his debut in May’s home victory against Hunslet, making a further appearance the following week in an away loss to Workington.

But he saw his season ended through a serious concussion sustained in training that resulted in him being sidelined for three months.

Robinson made his professional debut for the club in June’s home victory over the London Skolars, but this was the Keighley Albion product’s only appearance for the club.

Those two players have been granted early releases to pursue opportunities in local rugby union with Bradford Salem and Keighley respectively.

The seventh and final player to leave Cougar Park is Phoenix Laulu-Togaga’e, who will return to parent club Hull Kingston Rovers.

He was transferred to the Super League outfit in August, but they allowed him to go straight back to Keighley until the end of the season.

In a sensational breakout season, Laulu-Togaga’e made 12 appearances for the club and scored five tries on his way to being crowned the League 1 Young Player of the Year.

Cougars said they would like to place on record their thanks to all the departing players for their time and service to the club and wish them the best in their future endeavours.

All remaining players are already under contract with the Cougars or have been offered terms on a new deal by Lovegrove, as he looks to finalise his 2022 squad ahead of next month’s return to pre-season training.

The club will be making further announcements in regard to retentions, and any possible further departures, of those players offered terms in the coming weeks.


RETAINED (CONTRACT EXPIRES 2023): Jack Miller; Brenden Santi

RETAINED (CONTRACT EXPIRES 2022): Jack Arnold; Dalton Desmond-Walker; Charlie Graham; Kyle Kesik; Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e; Aaron Levy; Scott Murrell; Dan Parker; Josh Slingsby

TERMS OFFERED: Mo Agoro; Wellington Albert; Matthew Bailey; Spencer Darley; James Feather; Billy Gaylor; Josh Lynam; Robert Matamosi; Con Mika; Kieran Moran; Taylor Prell; Aidan Scully; Alix Stephenson; Jake Webster


PLAYERS TO DEPART UPON EXPIRATION OF CONTRACT (NOVEMBER 30): Jack Coventry; Jason Muranka; Ben Stead; Ryan Wright.