KEIGHLEY Cougars stalwart James Feather initially announced his retirement in 2017, but he is still a first-team regular in 2022.

Last year, it seemed the veteran hooker would just play enough games to break the late Phil Stephenson's summer appearance record for the club before bowing out for good.

But deciding to play on for one more year after Cougars' play-off heartbreak last autumn, he now finds himself a key cog in the side that have won five out five to kick off the League 1 season, scoring a rare try in the 96-0 win over London Skolars on Sunday.

Feather admitted: "I'm chuffed to have the opportunity to go on for one more year, and I'm grateful to Rhys (Lovegrove) and the rest of the coaching staff.

"To get fit and compete, I didn't really miss any pre-season sessions, but it means a lot to still be getting the nod to play.

"It helps playing in and around a group of unbelievable lads, who've really developed over the last couple of years.

"It means I have to put in a lot of hard work to compete and be picked, but while I'm still training hard, I'm lucky not to have picked up any bad knocks of late."

Explaining why at 38, he prefers playing to the coaching role he briefly took up at Cougars, Feather said: "I did a bit of coaching last year, but as I've said before, it wasn't for me.

"I'm not considering it at the minute, because it takes up a lot of time.

"The staff put in so many hours, turning up hours before training starts and doing all their planning.

"I can't commit to that, especially when I'm trying to run my own business, whereas as a player, I can just be at training at 6:30 until 9."

Cougars have made a lightning start to the league season, and after that huge victory over Skolars, they should have a field day at rock-bottom West Wales Raiders this Saturday.

Feather said: "It's about being professional.

"We were odds on to win against London too, but it's about having the right attitude and manner and sticking to our gameplan, like we did on Sunday, where we were ruthless.

"We'll approach West Wales in the same way, though a few lads should be getting a rest.

"But the lads coming in will be chomping at the bit to play, and that attitude should inspire everyone else.

"We're financially sound now so we'll get to stay over the night before, rather than having a long trip on the day, so there's no reason why we can't do a professional job down there."

Feather was Cougars' captain when friend and teammate Danny Jones died after suffering a cardiac arrest during a game in 2015 at the Skolars.

It was the seventh anniversary of Jones' passing on Tuesday, and Cougars paid tribute to him during Sunday's win.

Feather said: "It was a Bank Holiday weekend, like when Danny passed away seven years ago, and we were playing the Skolars again, even if it was at our place this time.

"We were able to put in a positive performance, and then have a beer with the fans, and it just meant we could remember Danny in the right way.

"It ended up being a good day to celebrate his life."