Time of my life – Adrian Lam ‘loving every minute’ with Leigh

When Adrian Lam was appointed Wigan head coach four years ago, part-time neighbours Leigh would hardly have been on his radar.

Now the former State of Origin scrum-half admits the recently-renamed Leopards are giving him the time of his coaching life.

Lam led Wigan to the Super League Grand Final in 2020 before stepping down the following year.

Leigh celebrate a try against Salford
Leigh have started well on their Super League return (Martin Rickett/PA)

He planned to return to Australia but an intriguing offer to spearhead Championship Leigh’s attempts to return to the top flight came along and he could not resist.

Just over a year later and he is flying high, with Leigh having stormed to promotion last year and followed up by making a strong start to life back in the Betfred Super League.

“The ride has been unbelievable so far,” Lam told the PA news agency. “I’ve loved every minute of it.

“I was heading back to the NRL but then I had a really good conversation with (head of rugby) Chris Chester and that turned my head a little bit and convinced me to stay in the UK.

“I’m really happy this opportunity came up. There is a lot of work still to do – it’s about making sure we can get through this season in good shape and keep building moving forward – but I’m really enjoying this journey.

“I’m probably having the time of my life as a coach.”

Leigh have won three of their opening six games this season and been competitive in them all.

After three previous one-season stints in the elite division during the summer era, hopes are high of a more lasting stay this time around.

This week’s challenge sees Lam’s old club Wigan visit the Leigh Sports Village for a derby being billed as the ‘Battle of the Borough’ in relation to their proximity within the same Greater Manchester metropolitan district.

It is rare the clubs have met on relatively equal terms in modern times but Lam, who also played in a Grand Final for the Warriors, is confident going into a game Leigh hope will sell out.

Adrian Lam scores for Wigan against Warrington in 2003
Adrian Lam scores for Wigan against Warrington in 2003 (PA)

“Obviously I had some great moments there as a player and a coach and it hasn’t been too long since I was there,” said Lam, who will pit his wits against his former assistant Matty Peet.

“But I felt in my time there I did what I could and they probably needed a change.

“I am looking forward to this challenge. I think we have got a squad that can cause a few upsets and this is a massive game.”