Leigh Leopards boss confirms injury blow to ex-Love Island star on long-awaited return

Ben Olawumi
Adrian Lam, Keanan Brand

Leigh Leopards head coach Adrian Lam (Main Image) & Keanan Brand (Circle)

Though scans are awaited, Leigh Leopards head coach Adrian Lam has confirmed that Keanan Brand sustained a ligament injury in his long-awaited return to action which will keep him out for at least the next few weeks.

Brand started at full-back in Leigh’s Challenge Cup Sixth Round win against Featherstone Rovers, but was forced off just 13 minutes in and left the stadium in a leg brace.

The 25-year-old, who last year appeared on Series 9 of ITV’s hit reality show Love Island, had been handed a first competitive appearance as a Leopard.

With the exception of a pre-season friendly at Warrington Wolves in February, he had not featured for the club since a 42-4 win against Widnes Vikings in August 2022 when Leigh, then Centurions, were en-route to promotion up from the Championship.

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Leigh Leopards boss confirms injury blow to ex-Love Island star Keanan Brand on long-awaited return

Since his last appearance, as well as his short stint on Love Island, Brand has spent time on loan back in the second tier with both Barrow Raiders & more recently Bradford Bulls, featuring for the latter in the 1895 Cup earlier this month.

But it will now be a while longer before we see Brand in action again, as confirmed by Leopards chief Lam post-match at the Leigh Sports Village.

He said: “We gave an opportunity to Keanan Brand today, who has had a similar pre-season to Umyla (Hanley), meaning that he has been very good.

“Unfortunately for Keanan, he’s injured his medial ligament, so he’s going to be out for a couple of weeks now.”

Brand – a centre by trade – had replaced elder statesman Gareth O’Brien in the Leopards’ starting 13, but following his early exit from the cup clash with Featherstone, Leigh were forced to re-shuffle their side again as Zak Hardaker dropped into full-back.

Lam confirmed that O’Brien will return for next week’s Super League Rivals Round clash at Salford Red Devils, but suggested it’s a good job that’s the case, with his squad still thin on the ground following a spate of injuries in the early stages of the season.

He added: “Gaz O’Brien probably had a 50/50 chance of playing (against Featherstone), but with Keanan training so well for us and that risk being at 50/50, it was just important that we acknowledged and recognised Keanan’s work that he’s done, so we gave him an opportunity.

“Gaz will be okay for next week… well I guess he’ll have to be, because Keanan is going to be out for a few weeks now.”

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