ONE of Keighley Albion's best players of the modern era is looking to help bring through the next generation at the historic amateur rugby league club.

Josh Ireland, a first-teamer for many years, is now the open age head coach at Albion, as well as being the head of senior rugby on the committee at the club.

Albion have recently set up and started an open age academy side, which will operate and run alongside their current open age first team.

The first team had a successful 2022, which culminated in them beating Hull Wyke in the Yorkshire Men's League Division Three play-off final at Featherstone Rovers' Millennium Stadium.

And Ireland hopes young rugby league players in Keighley may get to experience that big stage themselves one day.

He said: "The option to have an academy side will ensure we see the transition between junior rugby league players into open age from our home grown junior section.

"I feel there has been a demise of rugby league within the town over the last decade or more, which in my opinion, has solely been down to the step up between junior and senior rugby.

"We hope, by having an open age side that plays in Division One of the Yorkshire Men's League and a team that plays in the lower leagues of the same set up, we can offer rugby league to a wider variety of abilities and attract more players to the sport."

The open age section of the club opens its campaign this Saturday in a friendly away to Bradford side Birkenshaw Blue Dogs. That game kicks off at 2pm.

Anyone wanting to play rugby league in Keighley can find Albion in Crossflatts (next to the village's cricket club) or contact them via their Keighley Albion Facebook page.

The club turns 75 years old in 2023 and hope, by hosting a series of planned events, it can be a successful anniversary for all involved at the club.

Albion say they pride themselves on having an open door policy for anyone wanting to come and join in the fun and celebrations.