RITCHIE Hawkyard has retired from rugby league with immediate effect - just weeks after re-signing for Keighley Cougars.

The 33-year-old full-back has brought the curtain down on a 12-year playing career which saw him play for four clubs; Cougars, Bradford Bulls, Swindon Lions and Oldham Roughyeds, scoring a total of 96 tries in 257 appearances.

He also won international honours, making one appearance for Scotland in a friendly in 2007, the same year his playing career started, at Bulls.

During his first spell with Cougars, between 2016 and 2018, Hawkyard scored 34 tries in 64 appearances.

He then left Cougar Park to join fellow Betfred League One club Roughyeds where he won promotion to the Championship.

But Hawkyard would return to Cougars in October, saying he had unfinished business with the club.

Hawkyard, who says he is now going to devote more time to his family, said: "It was a hard decision to make and one I haven't taken lightly.

"I've made great friends for life through rugby. Now is the right time to retire.

"It has taken a lot of hard work and dedication that has gone into the game.

"I've had some great memories. It's been absolutely fantastic.

"The hardest thing about playing is being away from my family.

"Thank you to everyone supporting me throughout my career."