KEIGHLEY Cougars full-back Ritchie Hawkyard was philosophical about the news that the coronavirus pandemic has seen rugby league matches suspended for at least the next two weeks, musing that everyone will be in the same boat when they return.

He admitted that some of his teammates had expressed concerns over money in the team's WhatsApp group though, and the postponements are a shame given that he had just broken back into the Cougars first team.

Speaking about matters nationwide and closer to home, Hawkyard said: "The players all talk on a WhatsApp group and for a few there is a concern about money (bonuses, a lack of club income possibly affecting wages etc).

"But for me it's just one of them things, there's nothing we can do.

"If there's stuff I can do to earn money, like scotching, then I will, though I'm not sure we'll be allowed out of our houses soon."

Cougars are already not allowed out to train, with the club suspending that for this week at least.

Speaking on Monday evening, Hawkyard allayed any fears that it was down to any individual contracting the virus at Cougars*, saying: "It's just an RFL precaution why we're not training.

"I've been chatting to some of the lads at (previous club) Oldham and I think everyone's just having a week of no training.

"We'll see what happens, because every day there's something else (about the virus) right now.

"It might be good, it might not be, to have a little rest, but everyone else is in the same boat.

"It might make it more of a level playing field when we come back."

Hawkyard has got over a calf strain he picked up when playing for Castleford Tigers' Reserves last month as part of Cougars' dual registration agreement.

He celebrated that by scoring a try in Keighley's 29-14 League One defeat at Rochdale Hornets last time out, his first start for Rhys Lovegrove's side since coming out of retirement, and he wasn't even playing at full-back.

Hawkyard said: "I felt good against Rochdale, fit enough and over my niggles.

"But Rhys wanted me to play full-back because Taylor Prell wasn't available.

"I wasn't up to speed with all the plays as I'd only really had one full training session, so I said I'd start on the wing and Alfie Seeley could play full-back if that was okay.

"There's not as much to do (and learn) out on the wing but it was good to get that fitness back."

Hawkyard will hope to play a key part when the season resumes.

Cougars picked up the Professional Club/Team of the Year gong at the Bradford Sports Awards last week for their off-field work and Hawkyard is keen to mirror that success on the pitch.

He said: "Mick O'Neill and the other directors have put their hands in their pockets and are trying to do what they can to get Cougars up to the Championship.

"It's up to us now to repay their faith and that of the fans who come and support us every week."

*Since the Keighley News spoke to Hawkyard, Cougars have confirmed that a member of their squad is self-isolating after showing possible coronavirus symptoms.

Unfortunately this news was only announced on Wednesday evening, and after the newspaper's publication deadline, so the print version could not be amended.