Opinion: Wigan’s coaching announcements are either a stroke of genius or utterly bizarre

Alex Yoxall

Wigan Warriors made the announcement last night that their new head coach for 2019 is former player Adrian Lam…only to detail in the very same release that club legend Shaun Edwards will take the reigns from 2020.

After the news broke in May that Shaun Wane’s tenure at the DW stadium was reaching its conclusion – the question of who would be the man to reinvigorate the former World Club Champions was on everybody’s lips.

Yet, after over two months not a word was said on who was next in line – Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan even stated in late June that they “would not rush” the process of finding Wane’s successor.

Yesterday however, all speculation was put to rest and it was revealed that former player Adrian Lam would take on the head coach hot-seat from 2019.

It is fair to say that this appointment in itself is relatively low key. Lam’s coaching experience is reasonably limited – his previous positions being the head coach at International side PNG and the coach of St George Illawarra Dragons U20’s.

However, within the same release Wigan made the fascinating revelation that this tenure would only be a single season long – with Warriors legend Shaun Edwards taking over the position in 2020. Like many, this news amazed and baffled me simultaneously.

If Lam is only in the job a year, what does that mean in terms of stability for the Warriors? How much can a coach implement knowing his time is up at the years end?

If these aren’t concerns, then maybe it’s to their understanding that Lam’s presence is to merely keep the seat warm for when Edwards finishes his Wales RU business at the Rugby Union World Cup 2019.

In which case, I think next year could go one of two way for the 2016 Super League champions. They will either achieve the consistency they have craved in 2018 and become a side tough to beat, ready to be fully redesigned by Edwards in 2020.

Or they will struggle (if being second in Super League counts as such) in the same way they did when Wane announced he was to leave – with performances faulting due to the knowledge things will soon be changing.

Either way one thing is for certain, change is afoot for the Warriors and with players such as Tomkins, Sutton and Bateman on the way out -we are inevitably going to be seeing a very new look Wigan side in the months to come.

Only time will tell if this coaching decision will be genius or crazy – personally I feel it will be the former, but what do others think?