Panthers supremo Phil Gould has revealed his role in facilitating Adam Keighran’s move to the Warriors and his NRL debut last weekend.
Keighran announced himself to the rugby league world by starring in the Warriors’ 40-6 thumping of the Bulldogs, scoring a brilliant solo try and kicking six goals in a scintillating first grade debut.
Just last season, Keighran was not even a first-choice half in the Panthers’ reserve grade team. As such, his move to the Warriors – shortly before the dramatic departure of Shaun Johnson – went largely unnoticed.
However, Gould has revealed he was reluctant to release Keighran to the Warriors without a guarantee that he would play first grade in 2019.
Speaking on his Six Tackles with Gus podcast, Gould detailed the discussions that took place which secured Keighran’s future as an NRL player.
“The Warriors came to us at the end of last year after they couldn’t get (Parramatta five-eighth Dylan Brown) and said, ‘would you release (Keighran)?'”, Gould revealed.
“I said, ‘yes, I think he’s ready for a crack at the NRL; why, do you want him?’. And they said ‘we think Shaun Johnson might be out the door’.
“(I asked) ‘will you guarantee me he will get a run in the NRL this year. Otherwise we’ll keep him here’. And they said yes.
“So, I said (to Keighran), you’re going to go to the Warriors and you’re going to get a chance to play in the NRL, and we think this is best for your career.
“I was sorry to lose him because I really rate the kid and he has great potential. Now he’s gone across there and kicked six goals and scored a try in his first game.”
While the Panthers lost a host of big-name players at the end of last season- including Tyrone Peachey, Trent Merrin and Corey Harawira-Naera – it looks like Keighran could be the biggest of them all if he continues to perform the way he did on debut.
And with Tyrone May and Liam Coleman both facing police charges, Keighran could have been a real commodity at the foot of the mountains right now.
Keighran makes his second NRL appearance this Sunday when the Warriors take on the Tigers. The Panthers, meanwhile, will be hoping for their first win of the season when they travel to Newcastle on Saturday.