Leigh Leopards coach profiles new signing David Armstrong, likened to Wigan Warriors duo

Drew Darbyshire
David Armstrong Newcastle Knights Alamy

David Armstrong scoring a try for Newcastle Knights in the NRL

Leigh Leopards coach Adrian Lam has likened new recruit David Armstrong to Bevan French and Jai Field, saying the fullback has the ability to ‘break a game open’ just like the exciting Wigan Warriors duo have proven.

Last week, the Leopards confirmed their first signing for 2025 in the shape of livewire fullback David Armstrong from NRL side Newcastle Knights on a three-year deal.

Despite the Knights making no secret of their desire to keep Armstrong beyond 2024, the 23-year-old has chosen to put pen to paper on a long-term deal with Leigh in what represents a major acquisition for Lam’s side: and for the Super League competition.

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Speaking on the signing of Armstrong in his press conference ahead of Friday’s trip to his former club Wigan, Lam has tipped the Aussie speedster to ‘set Super League alight’ whilst likening his style of play to that of French and Field: whom he actually signed whilst he was head coach of the Warriors several years ago.

“He’s a player that we’ve had an eye on for about 18 months but because he’s contracted there you’ve got to wait until he comes off-contract for any further negotiations or to be (in with) a chance of getting him,” Lam told Love Rugby League.

“We tried to get him to play here because he was behind two or three players there (at the Knights) and I think part of the key as a coach is to make sure you identify talent regardless of what competition they are playing in around the world and it’s one thing I think we do reasonably well here.

“I think he’s going to set Super League alight down a similar path to Bevan French and Jai Field, a similar style of play: but he’s also only very young, he’s here for three years plus on top of that.

“He’s a player that can learn in our system here and hopefully as a coach I can take him to the next level as a player, that’s my role and what my responsibility is going to be.

“But I think for Leigh fans – just his speed (is) like no other – just incredibly quick. He’s got that try-scoring nouse where he will just turn up out of nowhere and get one of those tries. He’s very tough defensively, he’s got a good body shape and I think he’ll certainly suit the way we play as a team.

“We need a bit of speed at this club, which is something we’ve identified moving forwards, so he’s one of those players that is hopefully going to come to us and make us better in the immediate future.”

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Lam says he sees Armstrong as the club’s long-term fullback as of next season, and is excited to see his ‘X factor’ on show in Super League next year.

“He’s very professional in everything that he does,” Lam added. “He’s got that X factor about him in that he can break tackles and if anyone makes a break he is so quick that he can snuff that out and has that X factor in that he can break the game open like French and Field do for Wigan.

“It’s something we’re pretty excited about, we’ll have a whole off-season with him before he comes unless things happen sooner, which they’re not planned at the moment but you never know with the way that things go. I feel we’re excited about getting him here as soon as we can.”

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