Adam O’Brien has been the first confirmed signing of the Liam Finn era at Halifax Panthers with the former Huddersfield Giants man signing a deal with the Championship club.
O’Brien returns to play for his hometown club but this time on a permanent three year deal following his spells on loan with the club in 2023.
The hooker was recalled before the end of the season and couldn’t help see the Panthers over the line and into the playoffs with a final day loss to Swinton Lions costing Fax their spot in the top six.
He was however at the club for their famous win at Wembley when they lifted the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup over Batley earlier this season.
Having been released by Huddersfield he now becomes the Panthers first signing in their new era under the coaching of Liam Finn.
Former head coach Simon Grix was scheduled to leave and now former Dewsbury head coach and Wakefield Trinity player Finn takes over.
Fax announce the signing of O’Brien via X, formerly Twitter, welcoming their new man to the club.
“A WEMBLEY WINNER IN HOMETOWN BLUE
“Introducing your First New Signing for 2024 and beyond – The Liam Finn Era has officially Begun…”
A statement on the club website also confirmed the news:
“Halifax Panthers are delighted to announce the signing of Adam O’Brien on a three year deal from Super League neighbours Huddersfield Giants
“The 30 year old hooker is a vastly experienced campaigner, having made over 150 Super League appearances during his career. O’Brien spent time on loan with the club during our 150th anniversary season, playing a big part in our AB Sundecks 1895 Cup victory at Wembley Stadium in August.
“A King Cross Park junior, O’Brien joins his hometown club on a permanent basis after seven years at the John Smith’s Stadium and is excited to being calling The Shay his home until the end of 2026.”
“I’m over the moon to be back at Fax”, said O’Brien. “I came here on loan and was enjoying my time playing regular rugby. Huddersfield pulled me back because of injuries so I went back to the Giants for a couple of weeks. But when me and the club came to terms to secure my release and Halifax came in with a three year deal, I couldn’t say no to it. I’m absolutely buzzing to be back at my hometown club.”
“There was a couple of Super League offers there but I think, personally, for me and my family and things outside of rugby, I think it’s time to go part time now and go down that regime of part time rugby, looking at life after rugby. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
When asked about working under new coach Liam Finn, O’Brien continued: “The conversations I’ve had with Finny were really positive. I haven’t been coached by him before but what he’s done when he was assistant here before, what he’s done leading Dewsbury to promotion, he’s done some really good stuff in Rugby League. He was a class player when he played so I’m looking forward to working with him.”
“I’d say my main strength is my consistency. Whether I’m starting or coming off the bench, I want to play to a high level for 80 minutes and make us a good side. Hopefully, pre season will be a big one and we can have a good start to the season.”
New Panthers Head Coach Liam Finn was ecstatic to have a player of O’Brien’s calibre signed and sealed as his first recruit as Halifax Panthers boss.
“We’re delighted to get Adam sorted and have a quality local lad on board for 2024”, said Finn. “He’ll add some more leadership to the group and with his experience and subtlety around the ruck, he’ll be a great signing for us.”