CHAIRMAN Gary Fawcett believes the increase in attendances last season is an endorsement of Cougars' more expansive style under Craig Lingard.

Though Keighley – who added prop Harvey Hallas from Wakefield Trinity to their ranks on Tuesday night – failed to make the League One top five play-offs again, fans have been encouraged by the head coach's first year at the helm.

The average gate was up by more than 35 per cent on 2016 in a season which saw them only miss out on the play-offs by a point in the last Super Eights game.

Keighley were the third top points scorers in League One and Fawcett is pleased at the way Cougars have become more easy on the eye.

He said: "After the 2016 season, the aim was to play more attractive rugby because there were times that year where, to be honest, I was bored watching.

"But it's definitely been a success this year in that sense, and you can see that because the crowds are up.

"Even when we lose, which doesn't happen often at Cougar Park, the fans are going away happier because of the performance."

Cougars were lining up another prop on the back of Hallas' arrival this week, with Fawcett eyeing another couple of first-team additions.

He said: "We need a centre and perhaps one more, probably an experienced head. I'd say those signings should complete the squad.

"But we'll be continuing what we did last year and signing young players who we can develop."

Lingard's side lost just three home games last season, and making Cougar Park a fortress will be key if the team are to crack that top five next year.

"We wanted to get into the top five this year but we just fell short," Fawcett admitted.

"We've got a young team but that didn't show. There was only one slip-up and that was the loss to Gloucester. If we'd have won that, we'd have got into the top five.

"But I'm not disappointed with the season. I'm not satisfied, but I'm not disappointed."

Fawcett continued: "Next season, we want to finish in that top five.

"It will be a huge rarity to see us lose at Cougar Park in 2018, you can see that from this year.

"We drew with Toronto and needed just one point to beat them, which we were unlucky not to get.

"Along with a lot of things, good home form is definitely something that will continue."

Keighley have arranged their first pre-season friendly, which is a visit from Championship outfit Batley Bulldogs, confirmed for Sunday, January 21.

Meanwhile, Cougars Reserves are holding an open trial at Cougar Park on Wednesday, November, 15 at 7pm.

The trials are for anyone aged 16 or older to get an opportunity to play for the club during the 2018 season.

Cougars player performance manager Frank Levy said: "We feel it's a great opportunity for local talent to be given the chance to play for our reserves or even progress through to the first team as happened last season with three players making their senior debuts."

For more information contact or