Clubs put on alert as Leigh boss teases loan moves for duo including ex-Love Islander

·3-min read
Keanan Brand, SWPix. Credit: Alamy
Keanan Brand, SWPix. Credit: Alamy

Leigh boss Adrian Lam has teased the idea of sending out Aaron Smith and Keanan Brand on loan to acquire some game time, with the pair making their respective returns to fitness.

Smith, 26, is yet to make an appearance this season due to injury.

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The ex-St Helens hooker made five appearances for Leigh on dual-registration back in 2019, before making a season-long loan to the side in their promotion-winning 2022 campaign.

He made the permanent switch ahead of the 2023 season, and featured in the pre-season fixture with Warrington at the Halliwell Jones Stadium before sustaining a knock that has sidelined him ever since.

Meanwhile, following his stint on hit reality ITV show Love Island, Brand has completed his return protocols and is available for selection.

The outside-back had been nursing an injury ahead of his stint on Love Island, and returned to the club earlier in March.

However, Leigh head coach Lam may send the pair out on loan to obtain some minutes on the field before potentially making their first Super League appearances of the year.

Leigh take on Castleford in Round 11 of Super League this Friday at the Leigh Sports Village.

Adrian Lam teases loan moves

“Jack Hughes is still three or four weeks away,” Lam told Love Rugby League.

“We’ve got Joe Wardle that’s long-term, that’s early July.

“Aaron Smith is back in training all ready to go. It is whether or not we include him in that squad or whether we try to get him some game time elsewhere.

“Keanan Brand is available now.

“He is loaded up now to a position where we think he can compete, so he is in the same position as Aaron in the sense of whether we play him.

“Those players are probably on the fringe at the moment and need a little bit of game time, so we’ll work closely with them on that.”

Leigh coach previews Castleford clash

Following the international break that saw England claim a 64-0 victory over France in Warrington, Leigh return to action with a home clash against Castleford on Friday.

Lam’s Leopards currently sit seventh in the table, with five wins from 10, including the impressive 20-6 triumph over Leeds prior to the break at home.

Meanwhile, Last will be looking to make it three wins for Castleford, who sit just above Wakefield at the foot of the Super League table.

The side had run Hull KR close during Round Nine, only to fall to a 12-7 defeat due to a try on the hour mark from opposition hooker Matt Parcell.

“I’ve watched a couple of games of theirs now and they are certainly trying to play an open style of rugby to help them out,” Lam said on Castleford.

“They’ve still got some players who have been around for a long time with that experience to get them over the line, but we’ve got to focus on us as a group.

“There’s been a lot of learnings along the way of how we want to be and how we want to play in attack and defence.

“For me, it is about making sure we get on who we want to be as a team. I think they’ll come here all guns blazing so if we are not on there, then it could turn very quickly.”

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