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Keighley Cougars coach Jason Demetriou still targeting top four
Player-coach Jason Demetriou insists Cougars can take heart from their second-half performance against Batley ahead of this Sunday’s trip to Hunslet (3pm).
Keighley slumped to a third successive home defeat last weekend after John Kear’s men claimed a 34-30 victory, but they secured a bonus point and Demetriou believes a top-four finish in the Co-operative Championship is still possible.
The game looked to be well and truly over for Cougars after 30 minutes but a fightback, including Sam Obst and Richie Barnett’s late tries, got them to within four points at the final hooter.
Having finished last weekend’s game on a high, Demetriou is calling for his squad to stay united as they bid to turn their season around against former Cougars chief Barry Eaton’s side.
The Australian said: “Hunslet away is not an easy game for us but it’s a game we will go to with a bit of confidence after the second-half performance against Batley.
“The boys have just got to stay tight, stay together and don’t let outside influences affect their game.
“I know good and well that the boys in that changing room are good enough to turn this around, but the last three weeks we haven’t given ourselves a chance to compete after our first-half performances.”
Cougars thumped Hunslet 48-6 at home earlier in the campaign and will now head to south Leeds in search of a league double.
And Demetriou has backed his men to rediscover the winning formula as Cougars bid to keep their play-off hopes alive.
The former Wakefield man added: “We played well against Hunslet down here at Cougar Park but we’ve got to start better.
“If we concede early and don’t get early tries ourselves, they will have their tails up and be difficult to control.
“They’ve got nothing to lose and they’ll keep playing hard, so we’ve got to bring our A game and not drop our standards.
“We should be used to playing at a high standard after three really tough games on the bounce.
“We now need to take that intensity into the Hunslet game and then York the week after.
“I still think we can finish in the top four because we’ve played a lot of tough teams and we’ve got a game in hand, so if we win our next two games, and that game in hand, it puts us up with the big boys.”
Demetriou has seen his squad hit badly by injuries in recent weeks but he is hoping for better news.
He said: “Danny Jones, who rolled his ankle in preparation for the game last week, will be fit and Buster (James Feather) should recover from his broken finger in time for the game.
“But Semi Tadulala, Ben Sagar and Jamaine Wray are still a few weeks away.
“We are doing it the hard way at the moment, myself included with my knee injury, but, hopefully, we’ll get all our bodies back for the business end of the season.”