Leigh Leopards: ‘Ecstatic’ Adrian Lam speaks after ‘gutsiest’ win of season at Salford Red Devils

Ben Olawumi
Adrian Lam Leigh Leopards News Images

Photo: Steve Flynn/News Images

Adrian Lam couldn’t take the smile off his face having seen his Leigh Leopards’ side make it 12 wins from 13 in all competitions with a 24-22 victory at Salford Red Devils in which they had trailed by 12.

The Leopards have been flying in 2023 on their return to Super League, and after earning a first-ever victory at The Salford Stadium, he hailed his players.

Ben Reynolds was the man of the moment, kicking a penalty from virtually the halfway line in the closing stages to nudge Leigh in front having fought back from 22-10 down midway through the second half.

Proud Adrian Lam: “I’m ecstatic”

The Papua New Guinean said: “I’m ecstatic – really, really proud of them. There have been some close games against Salford already this season and we knew it would go down to the last 10 minutes.

“In both of those games, we had been in positions to win, but didn’t make it. Today we iced it.

“I knew there wasn’t an issue with the distance [for the winning penalty]. The wind was at his back so I knew if he got it on target, it’d go over.”

Leigh Leopards weren’t prepared to risk star man Ipape ahead of semi-final

If they weren’t already, the Leythers now head into next weekend’s Challenge Cup semi-final against St Helens riding the crest of a wave.

It also looks like they’ll head into that tie with a clean bill of health having today seen star man Edwin Ipape and Aaron Smith both play no part.

Lam revealed both players had suffered a bout of illness, and he wasn’t going to run the risk of losing them for next week.

The Leopards’ chief said: “I’m really proud of them considering we had a couple of late changes. We had Edwin Ipape pull out through illness, then Aaron Smith who was down to replace him.

“We had to start Joe Mellor at hooker and I’m very proud of the way he played. Late disruptions mess up your momentum, but with the Challenge Cup semi-final in six days, it wasn’t worth risking Edwin today.”

Robbie Mulhern also returned for the Leopards in this afternoon’s victory, after picking up a minor knock in an earlier win against Hull KR.

Lam on his delight for the Leigh fans

Remaining just two points behind Super League leaders Catalans Dragons courtesy of today’s win, Leigh could reach a Challenge Cup final for the first time since 1971 if they’re successful next weekend.

They’ve twice won the prestigious cup competition, and the boss – as always – dedicated the success to the travelling Leopards fans.

“Tonight, we sit outright second on the ladder and are 80 minutes away from Wembley after our gutsiest win of the season.

“We had 2,000 fans backing us here today, so I’m just delighted for them.”

READ NEXT: Adrian Lam wants side to continue putting smiles on faces of people in Leigh