Leigh Leopards coach Adrian Lam addresses South Sydney Rabbitohs speculation

Ben Olawumi
Adrian Lam

Leigh Leopards head coach Adrian Lam

Leigh boss Adrian Lam says it’s ‘nice to be thought of’ in relation to speculation surrounding a potential move to South Sydney Rabbitohs, but insists his heart is with the Leopards and fulfilling their five-year plan.

Lam’s contract at Leigh is due to expire at the end of the 2024 season, and following Souths’ dismissal of Jason Demetriou, reports have emerged linking him to the vacancy Down Under.

The 53-year-old – who played in the NRL for Sydney Roosters and is currently Australia’s assistant on the international front – has been in charge at Leigh since the start of the 2022 season.

Gaining promotion in his first season in charge, as well as lifting the 1895 Cup, he unforgettably led them to Challenge Cup glory this year in addition to achieving a play-off finish in Super League for the first time in the club’s history.

Leigh Leopards coach Adrian Lam addresses South Sydney Rabbitohs speculation

Lam has previously held assistant roles in the NRL, and taken charge of second-grade sides Down Under, but awaits his first gig as chief among Australia’s elite.

That wait would appear likely to go on for at least a few years longer though, as the Papua New Guinean told Love Rugby League: “I’ve not had a phone call with them (Souths) at all, and what I do know is that I love this club here at the moment.

“Where we’ve taken it to over the last two-and-a-half years has been incredible, and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.

“There is a five-year plan that we have here at the club, and that’s on track for where it needs to be, so my focus is solely here.

“If something comes up from that way, as any normal person would do, you look at what the opportunity is and then make decisions moving forward from there.

“But I know that my heart is here at the moment, it’s been an amazing journey so far and long may that continue.

“I think it’s nice to be thought about over there with all the hard work that we’ve done here, it’s good to be acknowledged, and I think I’ve done my apprenticeship!

“Still being involved with the Kangaroos, I think my name’s going to come up in those situations, but winning the Challenge Cup here last year was a massive achievement for our club, our fans and me personally as the coach.

“For me, I’m sure things (contract-wise at Leigh) will happen and get finalised over the next couple of weeks.”

Lam discusses Souths links

The Rabaul native, who lifted the Super League Leaders’ Shield as Wigan Warriors’ head coach in 2020, inherited a shell of a team when he took over at Leigh at the start of 2022.

In charge as they transformed from Centurions to Leopards following promotion, it’s his influence which has helped to bring the likes of Edwin Ipape, John Asiata and son Lachlan to the club.

Undoubtedly, the coach has had a big role in getting Leigh into the best position they’ve ever been in as a club, both on and off the field.

And it’s for that reason he believes that links to Souths may have emerged, with the Rabbitohs currently propping up the NRL ladder with just one win in their first seven outings in 2024.

He added: “I think the link also may be put together because we were struggling here when I first got the appointment.

“Not in a bad way or a financial way or even a business way, but there was a high turnover of players and the club had been relegated to the Championship, which was a testing time.

“We got through all of that, and I think that’s what the Rabbitohs are probably going through at the moment, things aren’t going their way, so maybe they’re looking at some sort of alignment with that.

“It’s nice to be acknowledged in that regard, but as I mentioned, my heart is here.”