Leigh Centurions have confirmed that Adrian Lam has been appointed head coach and will commence his duties immediately as preparations for the start of the 2022 Betfred Championship season continue.
Lam, 51, is the current assistant coach to Mal Meninga for World Champions Australia as they look ahead to defending their title at the World Cup next year and was voted Betfred Super League Coach of the Year 12 months ago.
Lam has spent the last three seasons as head coach to Wigan Warriors, guiding them to within 80 minutes of the grand final in his first year. In 2020 Wigan lifted the League Leaders Shield but lost to St Helens in a dramatic grand final.
Leigh Centurions head of rugby Chris Chester was delighted to confirm Lam’s appointment and revealed the pair had remained firm friends since playing together for Wigan 20 years ago.
Chris Chester said: “Adrian’s signing is a real signal of intent by the Club. He’s an ex-Super League Coach of the Year and the current Australia assistant coach. He was a fantastic international player and he’s coached at the highest level, both here and overseas.
“Now Adrian has been appointed we can sit down and assess the current playing squad and look at areas where we need to strengthen, so that when the season starts at the end of January, we can hit the ground running.
“I’ve known Adrian since we played at Wigan, and we have kept in touch ever since. He has always been very supportive of me in my coaching career and regularly sent me texts and rang me up, and I supported him as best I could in return.
“Adrian’s signing is massive for the Club and a real coup for us.”
Adrian Lam said: “I am really looking forward to the challenge and am excited to be involved. The target is for us to get promoted back into Super League. It’s a different level for me but I have the same expectations as I would have with a Super League club in that I want the club to do well. Leigh Centurions is a proud club and I am looking forward to being part of it’s history. I am also looking forward to learning all about the town and meeting everyone.”
Lam is steeped in Rugby League and enjoyed a stellar playing career before embarking on a coaching role, first taking charge of Wigan’s academy for a year following his retirement as a player at the end of 2004.
Born in Papua New Guinea, he spent much of his early life in Queensland before breaking through into first grade with Eastern Suburbs (later renamed Sydney Roosters) in 1994. An immensely skilful and inventive halfback also respected for his fine defensive qualities, Lam played 146 first grade games over seven seasons for the Roosters, 119 over four seasons with Wigan.
He represented Queensland in State of Origin on 14 occasions, becoming state captain and captained Papua New Guinea in both the 1995 and 2000 World Cup competitions, also captaining Rest of the World against Australia in 1997.
Lam has been on the coaching staff at Cronulla, St George Illawarra and the Roosters and he also was head coach to Papua New Guinea in both the 2008 and 2013 World Cups. His more recent appointment with Australia confirms the respect with which he is held in the game of Rugby League.