A devastated Adrian Lam took the positives from his team’s last-gasp Grand Final defeat to St Helens, believing they will bounce back as a dominant force in 2021.
Wigan were downed 8-4 by their great rivals in Hull after Jack Welsby followed up Tommy Makinson’s post-hitting drop-goal attempt after the hooter to win Saints the title.
Speaking after the game, Lam remains defiant that the Warriors will be one of the teams to beat when Super League returns next March.
He said: “I think there are a couple of really important things to get out of tonight. One is that we are heartbroken and devastated.
“But I think that since we came out of lockdown, for the second half of the season, we have been a completely different beast as a rugby league team.
“There are some really positive signs there. Even though we lost, everyone is disappointed and heartbroken as mentioned but I think you will see a completely different Wigan team over the next 12 months.
“I think you will see a team that can dominate Super League. I do not want to put it out there too much in the sense of sounding arrogant but I just feel we have taken a big step forward the second half of the season.
“I think this will motivate us for next year and hopefully, we can get ourselves back in this position this time next year and change that result.”
In what was considered one of the greatest Super League games of all time, Lam was reluctant to criticise his team’s decision to attempt a long-range penalty goal just moments before Welsby’s winning score.
He instead pinned part of the blame on his team’s failure to follow up Hardaker’s goal-kick which fell short, allowing Saints to race up the field with the ball.
Lam added: “I still thought it was the right decision to kick for goal. I sent out a message to see if Zak was confident and he said he would have a crack at it.
“On the flip of side, if you kick for touch, you set up for a field goal and if you miss it, everyone in the world says ‘why didn’t you take the goal kick?’
“I felt it was the right decision. What was wrong about that is that we did not chase the kick.
“We sent messages after messages about making sure to chase the kick and had we chased it, I spoke to the referee and he said at no point did he think the ball was going to go over because he just stood there and watched it.
“I think it was close but it was never going to go over. Had we made that tackle ten metres out on Jonny Lomax as opposed to 30 metres out, I do not think Tom Makinson would have been in position to have a field goal attempt in the last play of the game.”