KEIGHLEY Cougars have announced that Matthew Bailey has signed a new one-year contract with the club.

This new deal sees the second-row commit his future to the Cougars until the end of the upcoming 2022 season which will see him reach a decade of service at Cougar Park.

“I am absolutely delighted to be keeping Matt at the club,” said chairman Mick O’Neill MBE.

“He’s a great lad and one that we didn’t want to lose, so it is great to get this signature over the line.

“He is Mr Reliable and someone that the coaches and players can depend on, which is the sort of player you need to pushing at the right end of the table.

“It is vitally important that we keep those homegrown Keighley lads at the club and in the town to make sure that they don’t sign elsewhere, and I am very pleased we’ve managed to do so with Matt.”

Now entering his 10th season at Cougar Park, Bailey joined the club ahead of the 2013 season, following a stint in the youth system at Bradford Bulls.

After missing most of that season after sustaining a broken leg in a pre-season friendly defeat to Barrow Raiders, he made his competitive debut towards the back end of the campaign in a home defeat to Dewsbury Rams.

Bailey finally broke his way into the side following relegation from the Championship, and he featured as a regular during the 2015 season.

Despite play-off final heartbreak at the end of that year, the prop forward became an integral part of the squad over the next couple of years and his efforts on the field were rewarded off it.

Bailey’s performances on the back of his breakthrough season saw him win back-to-back Player of the Year awards in 2016 and 2017, and the 2017 Players’ Player of the Year accolade.

Cemented as a regular in the team, and a club stalwart, Bailey continued to be consistent and reliable during both the troubled 2018 season and the renaissance of the club in 2019.

After initially being on the club’s released list following the Covid-19 cancelled 2020 season, lengthy discussions with head coach Rhys Lovegrove saw the forward remain at Cougar Park, after a new deal was agreed last November.

A solid pre-season followed and ‘Mr Reliable’ became a mainstay in the team once more throughout the 2021 season, returning to the form that saw him praised in those previous seasons.

To date, Bailey has made 144 appearances, scoring 13 tries, for Cougars.