Keighley Cougars have announced that Ben Stead has announced his retirement from professional rugby league with immediate effect, marking the end of a notable career. 

Known for his versatility on the field, Stead has been a fixture in the local rugby league community. 

Throughout his career, he played key roles for several clubs and was known for his strategic playmaking and resilience.

Stead said: “I have made the difficult decision to retire from professional rugby league.

“Although this has been a tough decision, it is definitely the right time for me to call it a day and it only seemed fitting to do this at Keighley Cougars

“I was a Cougars fan long before I was a player and it was always my dream to play for Keighley, who I will always grateful to for helping me come through the Cougar Cubs programme and the scholarship pathway.

“I have also gained fond memories with playing for some fantastic League 1 clubs, including Hemel Stags, Gloucester All Golds, North Wales Crusaders and Midlands Hurricanes, over the past decade or so. 

“As for Keighley, I owe a big thank you to the club and the fans, who have always been very supportive over the years I have represented the Cougars.

Ben Stead during his first spell at Keighley Cougars way back in 2014.Ben Stead during his first spell at Keighley Cougars way back in 2014. (Image: Richard Leach.)

“The biggest thank you undoubtedly goes to my family, who have always provided me with the opportunities and support to be able to play the sport I love for so many years.

“I’d like to wish the boys all the best for the rest of the season and hope they can achieve what was set out at the start of the season, to gain promotion back to the Championship.”

In their own statement, Cougars said: “We would like to go on record and thank Ben for his dedication to the club over the years and wish him all the best in his retirement.”