KEIGHLEY Cougars' star player from 2022, Jack Miller, has left the club to join their Betfred Championship rivals Newcastle Thunder.

The half-back was inspirational in Keighley's title victory last year, captaining them to an unbeaten league season and finishing as the third-tier's top points scorer.

Those achievements led to him being named as League 1 Player of the Year, and many Cougars fans were looking forward to seeing him perform in the Championship.

But the marquee signing of Luke Gale in the off-season, combined with the fact that Keighley already have the experienced Dane Chisholm in the ranks, always looked like it might limit Miller's opportunities.

That has proved to be the case, with Cougars head coach Rhys Lovegrove plumping for Gale and Chisholm as his pairing in the pivot positions for all three of their league games so far in 2023.

Miller has not played a minute in the Championship this season, having being left out of all of Keighley's matchday squads so far.

He was in the stands at Cougar Park on Sunday, ironically watching his new team lose 44-24 at the hands of Lovegrove's men.

Speaking of his decision to leave Keighley after five years there, Miller said: “At this moment in time in my career, I am going into the prime years of my rugby.

“I respect the club’s decision to go in a different direction (with selection) but I just have to put myself and my family first.

“I’ve signed a deal with Newcastle until the end of the year with the hope of getting some regular rugby.

“There are no words that can describe what we did as a collective last year at Cougars.

“These have been the most wonderful years of my life and if it wasn’t for Keighley, I wouldn’t be in the position I am in now.

“I am sad to see it end, but as one chapter closes, another one opens.”

Miller is not the only Cougars player leaving the club, with young prop Anesu Mudoti having just left to join the Midlands Hurricanes on a season-long loan.

He made his debut for the Hurricanes on Sunday, as they began their League 1 campaign with a 40-6 win over Cornwall.