RITCHIE Hawkyard has set his sights on promotion with Keighley after aiming a parting shot at Swinton following his switch to Cougar Park.

Hawkyard and his brother Darren helped the Lions to promotion from League One last month after they beat Paul March's side in the Play-Off Final at Widnes.

But the Huddersfield-based siblings have since joined Keighley with Ritchie, who played in Super League for Bradford Bulls, accusing Swinton of reneging on an agreement he had in place with them for the 2016 campaign.

Ritchie, the younger of the two brothers by just over a year, works as a plasterer for Kirklees Council.

The 29-year-old said: "Myself and Swinton verbally agreed a contract midway through the season - one for if we go up and one for if we stay down.

"I wasn't going to sign either of them until the end of the year. But the end of the year came and they said they had no money and would have to cut the contract by half.

"I would have stayed there for the rest of my career but, with the way it all panned out, it felt like they were using me.

"It would have been my testimonial next year and they were saying 'if you just sign this now, you will get all your money back in your testimonial'.

"But it wasn't my fault it was my testimonial and I didn't think it was fair for them to take it out on me like that.

"I'd been loyal to them when I could have gone to a few other clubs when we didn't really have a very good team.

"I wanted that loyalty repaid but they were just messing me about – they wouldn't ring me back and I always had to chase them.

"It came to a point when I was fed up because it got to a point where clubs were getting full up with their squads and Darren and I might not have been able to sign anywhere.

"I think they were hoping no-one would come in for us and they could get us for nothing. They went about it the wrong way."

Darren, a 31-year-old second-rower who is recovering from injury, joined Ritchie in signing for Cougars as part of an impressive array of close-season signings such as Hull KR duo Aaron Ollett and Sonny Esslemont, plus former Bradford youngster Vinnie Finigan.

Ritchie added: "I'd kept in touch with Marchy about who Cougars are signing and things like that.

"When you see the calibre of players we have signed, we should definitely be up there in the top two again.

"We're looking to get promoted, without a doubt."

Hawkyard is close to his elder sibling, saying: "Darren was always a decent player but he was happy to play amateur and was never that bothered.

"We went through a season at Swinton with hardly any players and I told Watto (Ian Watson), the coach at the time, to give him a chance.

"He's been at Swinton ever since but he's happy to sign on at Keighley with me as well. It's good because we can travel in together from Huddersfield.

"I started off in the academy at the Giants and then played a few Super League games at Bradford when Steve McNamara was head coach.

"I was a half-back or hooker then, so it was hard to get in with Paul Deacon and Iestyn Harris as the half-backs and Terry Newton and Ian Henderson as their hookers.

"I only really got a chance when there were injuries and it was hard to break in. But working for Kirklees Council and playing part-time works well for me with the money that I earn."

Ritchie is aiming to nail down the full-back berth at Cougars and he added: "That's my best position and where I want to play."