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“They are actions we don’t promote at this club” – Lam reacts to Flower and Partington bans

Wigan head coach Adrian Lam has given his reaction to the suspensions handed out to Ben Flower and Oliver Partington.

The forward pair were given two and four-match bans respectively for ‘cannonball’ tackles during the Warriors victory over Hull KR on Sunday.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Lam recognised why the incidents had received so much criticism and admitted that the outcomes were “fair”.

He said: “I know there is a fair bit of chat about that going around at the moment and fair enough too, they are actions we don’t promote at this club or coach at this club.

“We are an aggressive defensive team, I want to make that clear. But we are also a club that believes that [cannonball tackling] is not in the best interests of the game.

“I feel the players, in contact, have probably made an error of judgement. They are aware of that and the coaching staff are always trying to fix up those parts of our defence in a game.

Hull KR prop Matthew Storton is helped from the field following Ben Flower’s cannonball tackle. Credit: News Images

“Week in week out we are always drilling them and we’ll make sure we get a little better.”

While Lam revealed the club had entered an early guilty plea for Flower, Partington was referred to a tribunal for his dangerous contact charge.

The Wigan coach attended the hearing on behalf of the young prop and felt he was unlucky to receive such a lengthy ban for a genuine mistake.

“It’s a difficult one because I’m a firm believer that the higher end of judiciary system, as in suspensions with weeks off, need to be intent to hurt,” said Lam.

“I think anything over three or four weeks in the game at the moment, when you look at the profession and the job, is a long time.

“Oliver Partington has got four weeks and I think in a rugby league season that’s a long time.

Oliver Partington will be suspended for Wigan’s next four matches. Credit: News Images

“When you look at Oliver’s season last year he’s made over 600 tackles. He’s made over 200 this year.

“When you look at the workloads, he’s made over 800 tackles and got one wrong, that’s going to happen in the game of rugby league.

“Like I said, it was the 64th minute of the game and it wasn’t ideal, but he understands what he could have done differently and the next time he is in that position he is going to do better.

“But we all make mistakes, we’ve got to not accept that, but understand that happens and to try keep working hard to make sure that happens less often I guess.”

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