Adrian Lam: Underdogs tag sits well with Wigan ahead of St Helens clash

Adrian Lam has called on his Wigan players to resurrect the spirit of 2003 by pulling off an historic victory against arch rivals St Helens in the Good Friday derby.

The former Cherry and Whites star turned boss featured in the infamous clash at the DW Stadium 16 years ago that saw a depleted Wigan overturn a ten-point half-time deficit to defeat their biggest rivals 24-22 in emphatic style.

Despite going into Friday’s fierce match as champions, tenth-placed Wigan remain underdogs against an-inform Saints outfit beckoning for successive League Leaders’ Shields, leaving Lam hinting that anything is possible in a game of this magnitude.

“St Helens are favourites as the table says,” explained the 48-year-old.

“These games in my experience, it’s not really about form. As a player I experienced one of the biggest upsets in modern times between Wigan and St Helens.

“We had a team where we had five or six players from the academy play on the last day. Those players stood up and it’s always been the biggest game for Wigan and St Helens fans.

“There will be a capacity crowd and I’m told St Helens are bringing a record crowd with them. Hopefully Wigan can load the ground up and have that atmosphere here.”

After Shaun Edwards revealed he wouldn’t be taking up the mantle as Wigan’s head coach next season, Lam couldn’t be drawn on whether he would continue at the helm.

But the ex-Papua New Guinea international admitted his future isn’t his immediate concern with everything geared towards producing a morale-boosting victory in the 365th derby.

“Obviously the events that have happened this week have been what everyone knows,” he added.

“Up until this morning I probably haven’t thought about it and it’s probably not the week to put too much focus into it as well with it being a derby. It’s something I will consider in the next week.

“I was always going home in October – that was the plan from the start and it is at this point in time. It wasn’t in consideration, but things change.

“We’ve got a massive weekend now with Friday and doubling up on Monday, and my priority now is making sure we get that right.”

With a bumper 22,000 crowd expected to be packed into the DW Stadium, Lam anticipates the raucous Wigan fans will give his side a major home advantage.

“There’s no doubt that this is the biggest game of the season, not only for the players, but for both fans who want the bragging rights as well,” he continued.

“The form book goes out the window… we are massive underdogs and that’s something that sits good with us at the moment.”

Wigan Warriors take on St Helens in the fiercest rivalry in rugby league at the DW Stadium on Friday April 19th, kick-off 3pm. Secure your seat today by calling the DW Stadium ticket office on 01942 311111 or by visiting https://wiganwarriors.com/tickets.

By Max Chesterton