Leigh Leopards: Adrian Lam wants side to continue putting smiles on faces in the town

Ben Olawumi
Adrian Lam, SWPix

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

Success on the pitch has propelled Leigh Leopards head coach Adrian Lam to heroic heights in the town, and he’s adamant that the newcomers are only just getting started.

Promoted last season as well as winning the 1895 Cup, Papua New Guinean Lam has led an instant charge up the Super League table.

A club that three times before have tried and failed to maintain their Super League status now sit second, and have a semi on their hands next week in the Challenge Cup. This is only the beginning though, according to Leopards boss Lam, who was speaking prior to tomorrow’s trip to Salford Red Devils.

Adrian Lam: It’s nice to see so many people happy in the town

He said: “With nine games to go in the season, we are sitting second in the table and we’re also 80 minutes away from Wembley. It’s just a nice time for the town and club, and there’s absolutely a buzz about the place.

“I know there’s a lot of work still in front of us both in Super League and the Challenge Cup, but they haven’t been able to say that for a long time.

“They are proud and the players are making them proud just from working hard together. We’ve just got to maintain that and give our fans that consistent performance on Sunday [against Salford] for 80 minutes.

“It’s nice to be able to walk around town and everyone is happy, but I still think we’ve got a couple of levels to go, which is exciting.”

Leigh Leopards stars won’t look too far ahead

The Leopards, who re-branded from a 30-year association with the ‘Centurions’ tagline ahead of 2023, have taken the top flight by storm.

It didn’t come instantly though, losing five of their first eight. Two of those defeats came against tomorrow’s opponents Salford at the Leigh Sports Village with the latter in ‘Rivals Round’ a turning point.

A nine-match winning run followed to propel themselves into contention at the top of Super League and the last four of the Challenge Cup, and even after a narrow defeat to leaders Catalans Dragons in France, they bounced back in style.

Successive victories against Hull KR and Castleford Tigers now see Lam’s side make the short trip to Salford on a high, and that’s what the Leopards’ full focus will be on maintaining.

Lam added: “We’re just working hard, I know I keep saying that, but all we can do is focus on what’s in front of us on a day-to-day basis.

“We can’t look ahead, there’s only nine games to go. Usually at this part of the season, it flies by and before we even know it, it’s towards the end. We’ve just got to make sure we take care of what we’re in control of. Nothing else really matters at the moment.

“I know Salford are in a desperate position to win at the weekend, but we’ve just got to make sure we take care of ourselves because we’re desperate to stay where we are.

“That’s the two levels of desperation at the weekend, and I think what’s ahead of us in this period at the moment. We know that it’s only going to get tougher as the season goes on.”

Adrian Lam: We won’t go undefeated until the end of the season

52-year-old Lam has a wealth of experience in the game both as a player and a coach. The former Sydney Roosters man led Leigh’s neighbours Wigan Warriors to the League Leaders’ Shield in 2020.

This year, his Leigh side are still in with a shout of achieving the same and possibly more. He acknowledged that if they are to do so however, there’s bound to be more bumps in the road.

Lam said: “I want us to improve in attack and defence, and the mindset and mentality side of things, because that’s important to us. I know we are attacking and defending really well, but I still think there are areas we can get better at.

“That’s a good thing, and we are looking at that. On the losses during the season [so far], they’ve made us and helped develop the team to where we are. No doubt there’s a loss between now and the end of the season, we won’t go undefeated there, but there’ll be another opportunity for us to get better.

“There’s also development with the side maturity wise and making sure we are ready for the big games, albeit the first challenge in that aspect really comes next week in the semi-final.

“We’ve also got to make sure we stay in the moment, the most important thing for us this week is to make sure we get a consistent 80-minute performance against Salford at their place which will be a tough game. We’ve lost twice to them this year so we want to try and turn that around.”

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