Leigh Centurions have confirmed the signing of Sydney Roosters and Papua New Guinea international halfback Lachlan Lam on a contract until the end of the 2023 season.
The son of head coach Adrian Lam, he is expected to join up with the squad in the next few days.
Head of Rugby Chris Chester described himself as “over the moon” with the club’s latest high-quality signing and revealed that it was a team effort to get the deal over the line.
“It is a fantastic signing for the club,” Chester said. “It’s another signing that shows our intent. We are recruiting top quality NRL players, and they are coming over here to make a difference.
“Lachlan will make a big difference to our squad for the rest of the year and for 2023. He fits perfectly into our recruitment policy, and we can build a club around players like Lachlan.”
Chester again paid tribute to the continued investment of club owner Derek Beaumont.
“But for the support of Derek financially, signings like this would be impossible,” he said. “It is fantastic for the town and the game that Derek is willing to back the club in the way that he does.
“It is amazing the support he has given the club over the years, and we look forward to rewarding him and his family for his ongoing commitment.”
Lam was born in Sydney but lived much of his early life in Wigan when his father was playing for the Warriors, moving back home aged eight. “I remember him as a young child when I played at Wigan with Adrian all those years ago,” Mr Chester said. “It’s a great story that he’s over here again.”
Speaking from Sydney, Lachlan Lam said: “I’m excited to be joining Leigh Centurions. I’ve seen the success of the team this year and coming over to link up with dad will be something we’ve not done for a real long time. I’m really excited to be doing that.
“We had some special memories when we were younger and I’m looking forward to doing that now. I can’t wait to get over and meet everybody, and help the club achieve its goals.”
He came up through the Sydney Roosters junior teams, representing the Australian Schoolboys in 2016 and playing junior State of Origin.
He became the first player to represent his state under the father-son rule when he played for Queensland Under-16s. His father had played State of Origin for Queensland.
Having followed in the footsteps of his father, who played 146 first grade games for the Roosters, his only NRL club, it was a special family moment when Lachlan made his first-grade debut for the Roosters in Round 2 of the 2019 NRL season against Manly
In 2021 Lam was a regular in the Roosters’ first grade side, often playing alongside former Centurions’ halfback Drew Hutchison, who was an ever-present in his only season with the club in 2018.
“As well as Derek’s financial support, without Lachlan’s dad this deal would have been nigh on impossible,” Mr Chester continued. “His dad, his family back home and his agent Sam Ayoub have played a big part in his decision. Lachlan has been 18th man for the last 12/13 weeks for the Roosters, waiting patiently for his chance and playing well in the reserves.
“Lachlan brings good competition to our squad. We already have good halfbacks in Ben Reynolds and Joe Mellor, who are both contracted for next season, and as well as halfback he can play in other positions.
“I’m over the moon that we have secured a player of his calibre.”
Lam also followed his father in becoming a Papua New Guinea international, marking his debut in the 2017 World Cup with two first-half tries in a 64-0 win over USA at Port Moresby, when his new Centurions’ teammate Nene Macdonald was also on the scoresheet.
He recently starred in PNG’s 24-14 victory over Fiji at Campbelltown Stadium, scoring two tries and creating another for David Mead on what was his captain’s international farewell, after one of his seven tackle breaks.