Wigan is a world away from New South Wales; a cold, harsh winter in North West England is quite the contrast to life in the south of France.
But Adam Keighran has slotted in seamlessly since joining Super League champions Wigan Warriors during the off-season.
The Australian centre left Catalans Dragons after just one season to become part of Matt Peet’s title-winning squad on a two-year deal.
Keighran – who had spells at Penrith Panthers, New Zealand Warriors and Sydney Roosters before joining Catalans – played against Wigan in the 2023 Super League Grand Final, which the Dragons lost 10-2.
“I’m loving it here and have settled really well,” Keighran told Love Rugby League at Wigan’s pre-season media event on Monday.
“You look at the facilities here at Robin Park and they’re second to none, plus all the boys have been really welcoming too. It could be me and Jake Wardle in the centres, and he’s an unbelievable player, but also a very cool, calm fella.
“He just gets his job done around the place here, but when he’s on the field, he’s a different beast and I’m excited to play with him.
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Keighran, 26, made 24 Super League appearances and scored 12 tries last season.
He also kicked 68 goals, including nine conversions in a 61-0 pasting of Leeds Rhinos in September, a match which saw him score a hat-trick of tries.
How does the amiable Aussie reflect on his year in Perpignan?
“I was happy with the season and I think I adjusted to the speed and physicality of the British game pretty quickly,” said Keighran, who can play left or right centre and stand-off.
“It was obviously disappointing to finish runners up in the Grand Final, but then a bonus to join the team you lost to in Wigan.
“Now I’m hoping to push for that Grand Final win.”
Keighran’s wife Taylee gave birth to their second child back in Sydney in October, but the family are now happily settled in the Wigan area.
“We’ve got a son, Koa, and had our baby girl, Navy Lee, arrived on October 22,” explained Keighran.
“We’re living in Orrell and it’s a nice spot – close to training and everyone’s really friendly so I’m happy with how it’s all going.”
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Keighran is one of several new faces this season with Tiaki Chan making same switch from Catalans and Luke Thompson, Sam Walters, Kruise Leeming and Sam Eseh having all arrived too.
“Bevvy and Jai are unbelievable so it’s just a case of getting the ball to them. We’re all training hard and aggressively, so the squad looks in good shape heading into the new season.
“That’s obviously the Wigan way, which is something I’m learning really quickly. It’s exciting times.”
Wigan’s desire to keep the Super League trophy under lock and key this season was clear to see at their media day on Monday, though the World Club Challenge against Penrith – Keighran’s first NRL club – is already coming into focus.
Ivan Cleary’s star-studded Panthers have won the last three NRL Grand Finals and will visit a sold-out DW Stadium on Saturday, February 24.
“They have dominated the NRL for the past few seasons and have a lot of talent across the park with a great forward pack and some fantastic outside backs,” said Keighran.
“I played there for a year and was lucky to play with Jarome Luai –and against Nathan Cleary in school footie and other stuff as well – plus I played with the likes of Mitch Kenny in the New South Wales Cup.
“They’ve got the depth too, so the prospect of playing in that game is very exciting. Like I said, we train with aggression here and that’s the Wigan way of doing things.
“Everyone’s fighting for a position, regardless of age or seniority, and that’s the exciting part of it. There’s so much healthy competition and I’m looking to push that as well.”