“He understands the role the club played in his development” – Adrian Lam reveals motivation behind his star son’s contract extension

It will be a busy August for Leigh Leopards with the club set to play in their first Challenge Cup Final since 1971 when they face Hull KR in just over a week’s time, but before that they travel to Headingley to face Leeds Rhinos as part of what’s already been a busy first week of August, with the club recruiting ex Wigan Warriors centre Oliver Gildart and confirming the contract extension of star half-back Lachlan Lam.

Being able to tie down Lam to a deal is an absolutely massive statement of intent from the Leopards, who on their return to Super League are taking everyone by surprise, and with the PNG playmaker having had plenty of NRL attention it underlines the pull of the Leopards.

Of course Lam is benefiting from player under his father, Adrian, but he had serious NRL interest in him but opting to stay at the Leigh Sports Village is an immediate boost, as well as one for the future which coach Adrian Lam referenced.

“It’s just the best news that we could possibly have leading up to this weekend and next week with the Challenge Cup,” Lam told the Leopards’ Youtube Channel.

“It took some work getting there but we’ve reached there, he’s agreed and that’s put a massive smile on my face and I know all of the players here, he’s a popular member of the squad, he’s a leader within the group and I know all of our fans have been really happy about it.

“So having said all of that you know it’s cleared his mind up top too, so he’s in a really good headspace at the moment. He’s a really important part of the team, he’s an important member, very popular with the rest of the guys and I think his signing has certainly lifted the week with the players around.”

Coach Lam was asked about the awkward nature of his role in any contract negotiations, acting as both a father and a coach and therefore acting both emotionally and from a business perspective, and he accepted the difficulty but underlined Lachlan’s attitude.

“It is a difficult situation to be in, you know, especially when there’s other things to take into consideration and you know a lot of pressure from NRL clubs to get him back over there immediately.

“He understands the loyalty that he should or will give the club for giving him an opportunity to be here, don’t get that wrong. He understands how important the role that we played in his development as a player and he wanted to stay here first and foremost. So that was really important to him and for the fans to know that he didn’t want to just take off at the first opportunity.

“So he’s made some tough decisions to stay and we’re very grateful for that but it is a tough place to be in and you know, but the key is to make sure that you communicate to both parties without getting in the middle of it.”

The Leopards have a couple of other key players set to go off contract, namely Kai O’Donnell with the forward having been a standout prior to his hefty six game ban.

“Yeah, they’re all really close as well. I think, hopefully, there’s some good news in the near future, but everyone else will be looking like it’s all positive news as well. But we’ll know more about that next time guys.”

The Leopards certainly look set for immediate success given their upcoming Wembley match and their lofty league position, but it also would seem that they’re building well to ensure that this season isn’t a flash in the pan.