How Leigh Leopards guided in-form winger Josh Charnley to ‘playing best rugby of his life’

Drew Darbyshire
Josh Charnley Leigh Leopards

Josh Charnley in action for Leigh Leopards

Leigh Leopards coach Adrian Lam has hailed Josh Charnley who is ‘probably playing the best rugby of his life’ after ‘finding his love for rugby league’ again.

Charnley is having a sensational season with the Leopards, scoring 25 tries in 21 appearances in all competitions.

The 32-year-old has previously revealed that contemplated retiring from the sport last year when he was leaving Warrington – but he’s since found career best form, currently sitting top of Super League’s try scoring charts as well as making the most metres in the competition.

Speaking to Love Rugby League ahead of Saturday’s Challenge Cup semi-final against St Helens, Leigh coach Adrian Lam was full of praise for the prolific try scorer.

“I think he’ll probably deserve to be in that Super League Team of the Year as well,” Leigh coach Adrian Lam told Love Rugby League.

“The key with Josh is that when he got to us last year he was broken as a player and it was pretty sad.

“We had some deep conversations about what we expected from him for this year, not so much last year because we had a team that were already playing well and we had conversations that he probably wouldn’t play a part in that because they were doing a decent job, but I talked to him about having a really strong off-season, and what he did in that time last year was incredible and that’s what has put him in the position he’s in today.

“To any young player listening, they need to know that the off-season is so crucial for them, for their development and for them to get a base for that season coming.

“His off-season, he was winning everything, he was in the top three – him, Kai O’Donnell and Zak Hardaker – were the top three players in everything that we did and because of that, he has given himself a chance for this year.

“On the back of that, he has found the love for rugby league again.

“He is surrounded by players that care about him and because of the love and all of that, he’s probably playing the best rugby of his life.”


Leigh Leopards in-form star Josh Charnley for England?

Charnley sits third in Super League’s all-time try scoring charts, just 22 tries behind leader Danny McGuire, who scored 247 during his time at Hull KR and Leeds.

Charnley has won eight caps for England but has not represented his country since 2014. He was overlooked for a spot in their 64-0m win over France in the mid-season test, but if he carries on playing the way he is, then surely he’d be giving coach Shaun Wane a healthy selection headache for this autumn’s test series against Tonga.

Lam added: “I was disappointed for him for that mid-season test (against France), I thought he certainly deserved to be there but that’s their opinion and they have their choice and what not, but I think what he has done about that is move on really quickly and we’ve had conversations about the fact that just keep proving people wrong with the way you play.

“I think his combination with Lam and Kai O’Donnell and Gaz O’Brien has been second to none in this competition and I’m looking forward to that developing for the rest of the season as well.”

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