KEIGHLEY RUFC head coach Dan McGee admits he saw signs last season that his side could make a decent fist of things in Counties One Yorkshire following their promotion, but few could have predicted just how well they would be doing.

They have carried on the momentum from their 2021/22 title triumph, taking to the higher level of rugby union like a duck to water, and have won 10 of their 11 league games this season, putting them a point off the summit.

McGee said: "I knew last year that we had something special here.

"You can never really gauge how well you're going to do after promotion until you start the new season, but the attitude, desire and team spirit within the squad has taken us through these first 11 games impressively.

"All of the above gives you a foothold in a league campaign, though even we're a bit surprised that we're this high up in the table.

"We had a top-six finish in mind, but we've showed we're competing with everyone so far.

"I believe the RFU have only got the league winners as guaranteed to go up, and the rest of us below that will have to wait and see, which is frustrating, that unknown in the middle of the season.

"I guess we'll have to just try and win the title to avoid any doubt."

McGee knows how tough it will be to achieve that, with Saturday's trip to fellow newly-promoted side Wetherby set to provide Keighley with a real test.

He said: "Wetherby did us at their place last season, and I think the occasion got to us that day.

"It was good to have them at ours earlier this season and beat them, where our pack did particularly well.

"They might be a bit less confident against us now after that game, but for us, it's more the mental challenge of last season we might need to get over, rather than the physical one.

"I certainly believe we have a good chance of winning on Saturday."

Keighley showed their resolve last weekend, reaching half-time on level terms with out-of-form Huddersfield Laund Hill, before pulling away to win 29-12.

The result leaves Laund Hill fourth-bottom in ninth, but McGee said: "I look at the league table each week and only a few games ago, Huddersfield were right up there in the top four.

"They're a better team than the table suggests, but they've lost a few in a row, while the likes of Wetherby and Old Rishworthian have really come into form.

"We play them both (along with mid-table Leodiensian) before Christmas, so it will be a tough run up until the winter break."

Injuries within the squad will make winning those games even harder, with McGee saying: "We had some key players missing in the backs at Huddersfield, like Sean Kelly and Alan Ebbrell.

"But we showed our strength in depth, and the likes of (centre) Jack Adams, who has had a good season in the second team, really stepped up and played well.

"(Prop) John Gibson got a nasty ankle injury early on on Saturday too.

"It's not broken, but he can't put any weight on it, so he might be out for a few weeks.

"But others have stepped up this season already, and I expect it to be the same with whoever replaces John."