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“Clutch” factor of Leigh Leopards star questioned by rival player

Leigh Leopards Lachlan Lam

Leigh Leopards’ hopes of repeating their Challenge Cup success ended at the weekend as Hull KR avenged that Wembley loss by winning 26-14 and knocking the holders out.

The Leopards led at the break after a Kai O’Donnell try and a Matt Moylan penalty had cancelled out Joe Burgess’ earlier breakaway try. KR were potentially unlucky as they had two tries disallowed, the second being very contentious, but the Robins were nullified by a disciplined and efficient Leigh.

It was a different tale in the second half with Rovers getting into their groove and running in four tries, with another disallowed in a rare example of the ‘downtown’ rule, with Leigh simply unable to turn pressure into points or get a stranglehold on the game.

Pre-game Leigh Leopards’ coach Adrian Lam had emphasised the importance of his spine players with son Lachlan, last year’s Challenge Cup Final hero, asked to play “a big part”.

Lam told the BBC: “We’ve had a conversation this week about the importance of his role. We need a little bit more out of him and also Benny (McNamara) and Brad (Dwyer) and everyone involved really.

“Lachlan’s got to play a big part. I’d like to see him run the ball a bit more and I think this is a team where he can do that.”

Super League full-back Ryan Brierley was on punditry duties and argued that it was only Lam’s lack of cutting-edge and ability to truly punish sides that prevented him from being the best player in Super League.

He explained: “I think ultimately that’s what Lachlan was probably missing from him being the best player in the competition.

“I think he has the ability to be the best player in this league but ultimately when teams have gone through adversity, the best halfbacks, like George Williams and Jonny Lomax, they’ve come up with a performance out of nowhere to drag their team to victory.

“This game today provides him a platform with the club going through adversity. He needs to be the best player in this field today for me in order for Leigh to go through to the next round.”

Leigh Leopards unable to execute under pressure

Leigh Leopards

Credit: Imago Images

Obviously, with Leigh Leopards crashing out of the cup, it meant it was a game where Lachlan Lam didn’t defy the odds and drag his team into the next round, something that Brierley noted will have frustrated father and head coach Adrian.

The Salford man said: “I think Adrian will probably be more frustrated at the lack of execution at times. I think he’ll be really frustrated with that. I think he had a couple of chances in the second half and even the Lachlan pass right at the end.”

That pass was a shift to the left as Leigh have become synonymous with but Lam’s cut-out pass to winger Josh Charnley drifted forward and wayward into touch, a play that perhaps summed up Leigh’s second half.

Leigh have had a struggling start to the season, not helped by injuries at all, but there has been a distinct lack of tries with the Leopards scoring just 62 points in five Super League games outside of that rout against struggling Hull FC.

“They managed to create a lot of opportunities but just didn’t execute as well as they probably have done in recent weeks so that was frustrating,” Brierley explained before referencing the “clutch” factor that Lachlan Lam had failed to engage at Craven Park.

“I think the game was there to be won by Leigh tonight and I just think ultimately execution in the pressure moments, the clutch moments which Adrian wanted his son Lachlan to step up in, I just don’t think they executed.

“If you don’t execute at the right times under heaps of pressure in big games then it costs you.”

Hull KR will now face Wigan Warriors in a repeat of last year’s semi-final that was a classic, whilst Warrington Wolves will take on Huddersfield Giants will all details of the draw available here.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Mike Bloch

    April 15, 2024 at 7:28 pm

    Lachlan was out played and out smarted by Mikey Lewis.Leigh made a good fight of the game but woeful refereeing by Mr Chris Kendle ruined the game very biased towards Leigh.

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