John Asiata: Leigh Leopards ‘focal point’ credited for allowing star man to flourish

Drew Darbyshire
Lachlan Lam and John Asiata Leigh Leopards SWpix

Lachlan Lam has been named favourite to win the Lance Todd Trophy. Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix

Leigh Leopards captain John Asiata has been praised for impressively laying the platform for Super League’s Player of the Month Lachlan Lam to do his thing.

That praise comes from former Leigh star and now Salford full-back Ryan Brierley, who appeared on this week’s Super League Show on the BBC.

Asiata played a key role in helping Leigh clinch promotion from the Championship last season as well as helping the club lift the 1895 Cup at Tottenham.

And the NRL champion has kicked on to another level with the Leopards in Super League this season, striking up an impressive combination with half-backs Lam, Ben Reynolds and Joe Mellor.

John Asiata hailed as the ‘focal point’ for Leigh Leopards

Leigh have enjoyed an impressive start to life back in Super League, with Adrian Lam’s side currently sitting in third as well as being in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup.

Speaking on the Super League Show, Brierley was full of praise for Lam, who is currently Super League’s Player of the Month, and Asiata, who Brierley says is one of Leigh’s most important players.

Scotland international Brierley said: “If everyone watches Leigh play, everyone is focused on Lachlan Lam but if everyone watches the play before, it’ll be Asiata passing him the ball.

“I think how smart he is in manipulating defenders to give Lachlan Lam space… I think if you asked Lachlan Lam who is the most important player in his side, he’ll say John Asiata.

“He gives him the ball at the right times so when you talk about Leigh and when you preview Leigh, it’s how do you stop Asiata first? It’s easier said than done, but if you get to Asiata and put a bit more pressure on him, then it makes your job Lachlan Lam a little bit easier – and I say a little bit easier – because he still pulls a lot of pants down with his skill level.

“So for me, Asiata is the main focal point. Lachlan Lam is doing his business and is probably one of the best players in the competition but there’s huge reliance on John Asiata as a ball playing 13.”

The Leopards face Championship side York at the LNER Community Stadium in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals on Sunday, 5pm kick-off.

READ NEXT: Leigh ‘confident’ of keeping Papua New Guinea ace Lachlan Lam despite Super League and NRL interest