Leigh’s former Love Islander Keanan Brand makes loan move

·3-min read
Keanan Brand Leigh Leopards SWpix Credit: Alamy
Keanan Brand Leigh Leopards SWpix Credit: Alamy

Leigh’s Love Islander Keanan Brand will spend the next couple of weeks in the Championship on loan as he continues his road to recovery.

The 24-year-old centre has joined Barrow on a short-term loan deal as he prepares to play his first game since undergoing a double hernia operation in the off-season following his World Cup campaign with Ireland.

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Brand appeared on hit reality TV show Love Island earlier this year whilst he was undergoing his rehabilitation from his surgery.

Speaking to Love Rugby League, Leigh coach Adrian Lam said: “Keanan Brand goes out loan for us to Barrow for a fortnight, so we’ll just monitor that as we go along.

“I think when he left to go on Love Island he wasn’t quite fit. We had conversations about having him the opportunity to go and do that, which we were very supportive of as a club and Derek Beaumont (owner) was right behind it along with myself.

“I’m glad he’s got that experience but the deal was for him to come back, put his head down and work really hard in a six-week period to get his load and conditioning back up to where it needs to be.

“We feel that’s where he’s at. At the moment he is training really well so I’m excited to watch him play. I think he’ll go good for Barrow.”

Road to recovery

Leigh’s head of rugby Chris Chester said: “Keanan has been on a path of superb recovery since re-joining the group following his appearance on Love Island.

“It’s really important that Keanan gets plenty of game time on his road to recovery, and this is exactly what the move to the Raiders will do.

“We wish him the very best for his time away from the Leopards Den, and all the success in his time at Barrow.”

Barrow delighted to welcome Keanan Brand to Cumbria

Brand has scored 14 tries in 36 appearances for Leigh since joining the Leopards ahead of the 2021 season from Warrington.

The Ireland representative came through the ranks at Widnes, where he played 34 games before heading to neighbours Warrington in 2020.

Barrow coach Paul Crarey said: “We have taken Keanan Brand from Leigh Leopards on a month’s loan to help ease the injuries to our backline.

“Keanan was a regular player in last season’s Championship-winning Leigh team. He is a dynamic strike centre and proven try scorer at this level and will ease the pressure on our own backline as we look to develop players throughout the season.

“We look forward to having him with us, and I would personally like to thank Chris Chester, the Leigh club and Andy Gaffney for getting the deal over the line.”

Raiders chairman Steve Neale added: “The club are delighted to strengthen the backline with a Super League quality signing.

“This will add a little more attacking threat to the team and hopefully help us put a consistent run of results together and pull away from the relegation zone.

“Having followed Keanan closely, we are confident he will do a great job for the club.”

Brand is in line to make his Barrow debut in Saturday’s Championship clash with London Broncos in the capital.

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