KEIGHLEY Cougars have made the shock decision to sack head coach Matt Foster.

He spent over a decade playing for Keighley and was a popular figure among supporters even before he returned from Australia last summer to become head coach.

Foster came agonisingly close to keeping Cougars in the Betfred Championship last year, but they were relegated on points difference on the final day.

But they have made a fine start to life in League 1, winning 11 of their opening 13 games to sit top by a point, though second-placed Oldham have a game in hand on them.

Keighley did slip up on Sunday, drawing 20-20 at home to Rochdale, but even so, the call to sack Foster has come as a surprise.

Cougars’ managing director, Kaue Garcia, said: “Sport is a tough business and from the outside this perhaps looks like a hard decision.

“But when we see performances start to dip we have to pay attention while having one eye on the future.

“For the board, as a collective, this season’s performances have been inconsistent.

“And with the below-par displays at Rochdale, Midlands Hurricanes and Cornwall, as well as Sunday’s draw with Rochdale fresh in our minds, we feel we have to be better with everything at stake this season.”

Cougars’ director of rugby Jake Webster will take over on an interim basis while the club’s search for a new head coach begins.

The club is open to expressions of interest in the role and these should be directed to