Leigh Leopards provide injury update and latest on Keanan Brand

Josh McAllister
Keanan Brand Leigh Leopards SWpix

Keanan Brand is set to report back to training with Super League’s Leigh later this week following his stint on hit reality ITV show Love Island.

Brand, 24, entered the villa earlier in February, given permission by the Leopards to pursue the opportunity while continuing to recover from an injury.

The former Widnes youngster followed in the footsteps of ex-Castleford forward Jacques O’Neill, and later exited the villa in March. 

He is now expected to reunite with Adrian Lam’s Leigh, who admitted the centre was not far off full fitness prior to his TV stint.

Keanan Brand set for Leigh return

“I know that he’s got a speedos tan and a little more hair gel and make-up on,” Lam joked.

“Keanan comes back to join us tomorrow moving forward. He was close to being fully fit before he went in there. 

“He won’t come into consideration for selection for us until he gets back into a full time programme here, so that will be four to six weeks. Unless things happen otherwise, that’s the conversations that we’ve had.”

Adrian Lam provides injury latest

Oliver Holmes, Jack Hughes and Joe Wardle all missed Leigh’s first win of the season in Round Three, defeating Hull KR 30-25 at Craven Park.

Joe Mellor, who was named 18th man for the tie, could make his return if he passes his fitness test this week. The 32-year-old could replace the suspended Ben Reynolds, who picked up a two-match ban.

“We’ve got the smallest squad in Super League. But I think with those senior players being out, it’s certainly played a part in helping develop the rest of the group,” Lam said.

“It’s been a difficult process to settle with the same 17 every week, or our strongest. But it’s becoming easier when they play like they did on Friday night. 

“Obviously we still have a lot of work to do, but we do miss the experience of Holmes, Hughes and Wardle. Having said that, on our left hand side, Kai O’Donnell was brilliant. On the right, Joe Shorrocks on loan from Wigan did a great job for us as well. And the bench were outstanding for us.”

Back-rower Wardle was spotted with his arm in a sling at Hull KR, while Hughes could return as the Leopards take on world champions St Helens this Friday at the Leigh Sports Village.

“Jack Hughes is in consideration for this week. We’ll make a decision on him on the captain’s run this Thursday,” Lam explained.

“Joe strained it (his arm) in our captain’s run. He was in our 17 up until the last play of the day in the captain’s run.

“He slipped over and it seems like a strain to his pectoral muscle. That’s two weeks minimal at the moment and we need to get a scan on him as soon as we can to find out the exact time.”

“There is some cap left”

Leigh did not shy away from recruiting throughout their 2022 Championship campaign, including the capture of former NRL winger Blake Ferguson.

And the Leopards boss admits the side are constantly monitoring available players with room left on their salary cap in 2023, most likely due to Ferguson’s release earlier this year.

“There is some cap left. We are going to be looking every week, every month and every part of the season to help grow the squad,” Lam said.

“Derek Beaumont has been very supportive and very direct in his philosophy of what we want to be and who we want to be as a club.

“The players that are here at the moment, we’re very happy with and are doing a pretty good job with a lot of improvement left in us.

“We’ll keep that door open and talk and negotiate with who we think fits the right position and places within the group.” 

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