KEIGHLEY Cougars head coach Matt Foster admitted it was a quiet bus journey home for Keighley Cougars after the devastating 24-16 away defeat against London Broncos, which saw them drop down into League 1 on points difference.

And while he insists he is excited about the challenge ahead, having signed a two-year deal until the end of 2025, feelings were still raw about relegation.

Speaking to the club the morning after the London game, he said: “It was a tough day and tough night.

“The trip home, they boys had the opportunity to have a drink, but they were all hurting, so there was no kind of party, as there was nothing to celebrate.

“It still hurts, as I know it does for everyone at the club and all of the supporters.”

Cougars were winning 10-0 at half-time, but were stung by a rampant London after the break.

Foster said: “They came out firing in the second half and we didn’t react quickly enough to that.

“We weren’t physical enough in that first 15 minutes after the break through the middle to stop that play the ball speed, which put them into good ball area.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The dejection is still there for Cougars right now, who came so close to avoiding the drop.The dejection is still there for Cougars right now, who came so close to avoiding the drop. (Image: JT Sports Media.)

“They caught us a bit out on our right edge, and Junior (Sa’u) did his hamstring.

“He’s a big talker, and people know what their responsibilities are around him. When he went off it was an area they kept going at and unfortunately got some points.”

Reflecting on his time at the club so far, Foster said: “There’s a lot of plus points over the 10 weeks I’ve been here.

“The boys were okay, they just needed a bit of love and bringing together when I came in.

“I think defensively we’ve been good and we got to grips with the styles and shapes of play that we wanted.

“Things were starting to really come along nicely, but it was probably a few weeks too late in essence to be able to get done what I wanted to be able to stay up.

“There are a few key moments to look back on, but there are things I’m proud of and things I’m absolutely looking forward to next year.

“Next season’s going to be one full of great hard work and looking to come back with a bounce.”

Asked if he was hungry to bring Keighley back up, he said: “I’m hungry anyway. When I came over, I was excited by the challenge, and it’s now a fresh, new one.

“It’s not the one we wanted, but the challenge now is to bounce back strongly.

“As head coach, I’m a big part of that, and the challenge, once we get past the feelings we have now, will be an exciting one, and I’ll be 110 per cent into that.”