Exclusive: Leigh Leopards set to retain key man with new contract for 2025

John Davidson
Gareth O'Brien

Leigh Leopards have ticked off another retention target for 2025, with fullback Gareth O’Brien set to re-sign with the Super League club.

O’Brien, who joined Leigh at the end of 2022, is off-contract at the end of this season. But Love Rugby League understands the 32-year-old utility has agreed to stay put and to a one-year deal with the Leopards. 

O’Brien is another existing player the Leythers will keep for 2025, along with wingers Josh Charnley and Umyla Hanley, and forwards Matt Davis and Jack Hughes.

Leigh have lost loose forward John Asiata to Hull FC for next year, with the Australian agreeing a three-year contract with the Black & Whites. Back-rower Oliver Holmes is also set to join Asiata in East Yorkshire next season.

But the experienced O’Brien, who can cover fullback, scrum-half and stand-off, will be staying at the Leigh Sports Village. This season the Warrington academy product has made six appearances for the Leopards, scoring one try and notching five try assists.

He has been sidelined since early April after tearing his calf. O’Brien is expected to be back fit and in contention for selection by the end of May.

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The playmaker started his Super League career with Warrington, his hometown club, in 2011. He made 62 appearances for the Wire, scoring 19 tries, before joining Salford in 2016.

O’Brien spent two and a half seasons for the Red Devils, including kicking the winning golden point extra-time drop goal in the Million Pound Game that relegated Hull KR.

He was sold to Toronto Wolfpack in March 18, and played 55 games for the Canadian club before its collapse in 2020. O’Brien went on loan to Castleford that season and made 28 appearances for the Tigers before his switch to Leigh at the end of 2022.

The fullback helped the Leopards win the Challenge Cup last year, as he started in the number one jumper in the final at Wembley as the club claimed its first title since 1971.

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