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Craig Moss: Why I've quit Keighley Cougars
Craig Moss has confirmed his Keighley Cougars career is over after revealing that family and work commitments forced him to turn down the offer of another contract.
The 28-year-old full back has spent the past four seasons at Cougar Park but his deal expired at the end of the campaign and he has taken the “massive decision” not to sign a new one.
Keighley player-coach Paul March has subsequently recruited James Craven from Dewsbury Rams as a replacement for Moss, who lives in Knottingley and works as a sport and activity development officer.
The regular 70-mile round trips from his home to training in Keighley, coupled with his family commitments, have prompted Moss to end his stay at the club where he has endured no shortage of highs and lows.
He said: “I’ll not be re-signing again at Keighley because the factors that have made me want to stay and made it easy for me to play there have changed.
“I’ve got a baby, my job commitments have increased and it’s just not viable any more.
“A prime example is training on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
“I know a lot of players have family commitments and they manage, but a 70-mile round trip to get to training makes it just that little bit too much.
“Keighley left an offer on the table for me and didn’t withdraw their offer when I said I couldn’t sign at that point in time.
“A lot of people have said ‘you should sign and if you can’t make it from work they will be all right with it’.
“But I’m the kind of person that if I’m going to do something I’ll do it 100 per cent and I want to do it the best I can.
“I’m so focused on my rugby that if I play on a Sunday then I can’t do anything on Saturday night because I’m already getting psyched up, eating right and making sure I get enough sleep in preparation.
“I don’t just want to go through the motions of playing for the sake of it.
“I want to do it 100 per cent or not at all, which is only fair on my team-mates.
“I’ve had four years at Keighley and it’s been a massive decision, not just for me but also my family.
“The Cougars have been a massive part of my life and obviously the buzz you get from playing, it will probably never be replicated again.
“I just think the time is now right for me to finish at Keighley.”
Moss experienced relegation with Cougars in 2010 after the club were hit with a points deduction for entering administration.
But they bounced straight back the following season in Jason Demetriou’s first season in charge before finishing sixth in 2012 – a season which saw Moss win a number of individual accolades and earn international honours with Wales.
He added: “When I got players’ player of the season in 2012, it was the best year of my life – my best season ever and I got my caps for Wales.
“I got awards from the fans, players and coaches, and that was fantastic.
“The draw of all those big-name players kept me at the club.
“Those three years were fantastic and every year it has been a toss-up – do I go somewhere closer or do I keep going back to Keighley?
“The draw of going back there doesn’t seem as appealing to me because my situation has changed.
“The club’s situation has changed with a different coach so the package has got to be right to make that massive commitment and I’m not prepared to do it.
“With me not actually saying I was going to go towards the end of the season, I’d like to thank all the fans and staff who have made me and my family really welcome during the past four years.
“I’ve been through a lot with lads like Ollie Pursglove, Gavin Duffy, Brendon Rawlins, Andy Shickell, James Feather – we’ve been relegated, promoted and we finished top six in 2012.”
This year, Moss sustained a shoulder injury during a pre-season game against Doncaster which required an operation and meant he did not play until July.
“The injury opened my eyes a bit regarding everyday life,” he said.
“I’m only just getting my shoulder right so I can play golf and squash.
“As far as continuing playing goes, I’m not going to go as far as to say I’m retiring but it might well be that you don’t see me again in the Championship or Championship One.
“Being a semi-professional rugby player is harder than being a full-time rugby player because of the expectation you have to balance.
“Rugby league is not nice to the semi-professional – it doesn’t look after them one little bit.
“It’s very fickle. If you don’t get picked for a Super League side you still get your 30 to 40 grand wage.
“If you don’t get picked for your Championship team you are still expected to turn up three or four times a week and still only pull in your contract money, which is a couple of grand for half the players.”
Moss has not been selected for Iestyn Harris’ World Cup squad – which includes Cougars scrum half Danny Jones – but is on stand-by.
Meanwhile, Keighley have promoted promising youngster Chris Watson to their first-team squad for 2014.
The 17-year-old back-rower joined the club’s under-20s halfway through the season just ended and has previously been on the books at Bradford Bulls.
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