The 18th Man Column: Adrian Lam would be my first choice as 2020 coach for Wigan Warriors

Wigan fans have their say

Wednesday, 24th April 2019, 4:38 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th April 2019, 4:44 pm
Adrian Lam greets fans at Salford on Monday

Would you like to see Adrian Lam stay on as coach for 2020?

Darren Wrudd: Of course it is too early in the campaign for a new coach to be judged on results, but no doubt some will. But for a personal view, I like Adrian Lam. From the first few interviews he did at Wigan it was evident just how much this club means to him and how proud he is to lead us into a new post-Wane era.

Wearing his heart on his sleeve, like many of us do on the terraces endears us to him and enforces his message that he will do what it takes to make this club work.

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With some first class experience behind him, he could be just the tonic we need.

So yes, I would personally love to see him commit to a three or four-year term in office.

Jeanette Lusher: Adrian has excellent and proven coaching credentials testifying that he is well qualified to do the job here at Wigan.

He has Wigan in his blood and fully understands and accepts the pride and expectations of the Wigan supporters. The players themselves have confirmed his ability as a coach and the excellent rapport that they share.

Adrian has had everything but the kitchen sink thrown at him in these opening 12 matches and throughout he has been honest, open and diplomatic. He knowingly inherited a team already suffering the loss of high calibre players in Bateman, Tomkins and Sutton but has had to deal with further massive team disruption due to injuries and suspension.

In the midst of all this adversity Adrian has not only succeeded in introducing a new style of attacking play that has been both refreshing and a joy to watch but has also maintained the self belief within the team and kept the players upbeat and positive. Adrian has certainly proved to me that he is well worthy of staying as coach in 2020 and beyond!

Robert Kenyon: It depends it he wants to first and foremost, he may get an offer in the NRL and want to take that. If he didn’t, I would want him at the club but maybe as an assistant to look after our attack working alongside a more experienced coach who could concentrate more on our defence and pack. He’s been dealt a bad hand with injuries and losing a couple of genuine world class players last season, with the replacements taking time to integrate.

But you can see that we are playing a more expansive brand of rugby from our backs and it’s good to watch, but there are areas we really are a mile behind and that’s our defence and go forward by our pack. If Lam can sort them out then nobody can argue with him. The proof will be in the pudding and I’ve still got an open mind, I am pleased with some aspects but there are some that are unforgivable where we are coming up short. It’s too early to say for me.

Jon Lyon: Lam staying would definitely be my first choice. He has yet to have the opportunity to work with a fully fit squad and we have seen in glimpses what his attacking intent could be like if we can get a consistent side on the pitch week-in week-out.

Changing the coach yet again just brings more uncertainty and sets us back another half a season while the players come to terms with another style of play. It also makes player retention and recruitment harder if we don’t know who those players will be playing for next year.

With Trent Barrett seemingly heading to St George Illawarra, the latest name rumoured has been ex-Warrington coach Tony Smith, who I have never been a fan of. Lam would surely be a better choice, we just have to hope he wants to stay himself, which is by no means definite after his arrival on a seemingly definite one year deal and with family back home in Australia.

To be turned down by two coaches would be a PR nightmare for Wigan.

Eddie Hemmings has gone – does Sky Sports’ commentary team need a shake-up?

Darren Wrudd: Eddie Hemmings, love him or loathe him, has been great for our game which has seen many changes in his tenure as lead commentator. His voice a constant reminder of the sport we all love, will be missed. But for quite some time now, the team at Sky have needed a kick in the pants. There used to be entertainment laid on each week in Boots ‘n’ All, when outside films were produced and fun was had, but that slowly died a death when the bods at Sky decided that we didn’t even warrant a studio and a table in a cafeteria would do! Imagine a football show broadcast from the Sky canteen, really? The game needs an investment of energy, for guidance look at ex-Wigan favourite, Wayne Godwin. With Rugby AM he does some of the best TV on the sport. Entertaining, funny, even zany but it’s great TV and promotes the sport better than the whole of the Sky outfit put together. Let’s get some background interviews away from the game, learn about individuals behind the scenes and grass roots rugby too. If they are stuck for ideas, Sky can give me a call I would be happy to discuss it at length!

Jeanette Lusher: Eddie’s retirement affords an opportunity to do something radical with how Sky Sports present super league. I have been impressed by the BBC coverage of the Challenge Cup rounds and feel that Sky Sports would benefit from using similar innovative ways.

Ideally I would like to see a new breed of commentator who tells it as he sees it and doesn’t sit the fence! I would like to get away from baffling useless statistics and would cease from seeking the opinions of Stuart Cummings on technicalities when all he quotes is the rule book! I would like more humour, more positivity and more enthusiasm.

Robert Kenyon: I’d say it needs to go back to basics, just two commentators with one being a trained broadcaster and the other an ex-player. They can do whatever they want in the studio but during a match just two is fine, and the same two every week to build that rapport. At present there are too many and it doesn’t flow, there’s too many and Stuart Cummins clears up any debate on the spot with his knowledge of the rules, I’d prefer a bit of controversy, a bit of debate and differences of opinion but Cummins kills it stone dead.

I’d love Andrew Voss but I doubt he’d leave the sunny shores of the Australian East coast to commentate on Wakefield v London on a wet Thursday night in February. If it were up to me I’d get rid of the lot from Sky apart from Brian Carney, Bill Arthur and Angela Powers. One thing is for sure, we need someone with an iconic voice.

Jon Lyon: There has been a mixed reaction to Hemmings’ departure. Plenty of fans seem happy to see the back of him, but I think we will only realise how good he was now he has left. Overall I am quite happy with the commentary team on Sky Sports, each bring their own merits. Terry and Barrie are a good double act and bring a fun element, Phil Clarke knows his stuff and Jon Wells has a good way of explaining issues both on and off field without being patronising.

Who replaces Eddie is going to be a huge decision. Bill Arthur probably deserves a chance after playing second fiddle for the most part for many years. In an ideal world I’d love to see Andrew Voss drafted in from Australia, who has incredible knowledge of both Super League and the NRL, and a wonderful humorous style of commentary. Alas I can’t see any reason why he would leave to come here.

What impressed and disappointed you the most about Wigan’s Easter schedule?

Darren Wrudd: It is always disappointing to lose to Saints, so without doubt that put a downer on things. But, the injury to Tom Davies knocked me for six. One thing I am sure of, is that he will get through it and come back just as good as ever, such is the strength of character this young man has shown. A wonderful comment on social media underlined this when Davies, on a stretcher supping gas n air said, just strap me up and I’ll go back on! Priceless.

As for the Salford game, to show the character to play on for 80 minutes when the legs had obviously got other ideas and to force the win at the end was brilliant. It goes to show that our boys play for one another and as we hope to see some injured players returning soon, it could mean some results start to go our way and we can at least climb the table to consolidate our position.

Jeanette Lusher: It goes without saying that the disappointment was losing to Saints!

The odds said that we were always going to lose with such a depleted team but the sad loss of Tom Davies dramatically swayed the odds even further in Saints’ favour. Tom’s appalling injury put immense pressure on the bench.

Yet we were still in with a chance at 18-10 but a second half littered with silly errors and conceding penalties through ill discipline saw us heavily defeated. The team looked utterly dejected as they trooped wearily off the pitch and I feared for the game at Salford.

So, now to what impressed me and that was the attitude of the lads at the AJ Bell! The determination and fighting spirit was back! The hunger and desire of the players spurred on by the loud and passionate Wigan supporters who had turned up in good numbers.

The lads got stuck in from tackle one and never letting their heads go down. The match keept us on the edge of our seats with the scoreline ebbing and flowing!

The misery of Zak’s seemingly vital conversion hitting the upright was rapidly followed by the ecstasy as Zak went over for the match winning try!

Robert Kenyon: I was impressed with George Williams, despite all the rumours going about he got his head down and put some good performances in. I really hope the rumours are just that because Williams is one hell of a player, we won’t be able to replace him.

I was disappointed with the manner we lost to Saints, our pack or middle was soft in attack and defence and there’s no excuse for it. Our discipline versus Salford was shocking too, we were lucky to get the two points. I was also disappointed by all the sawdust and wood shavings left at the stadium by the Saints fans after the game, it was because they’d all come out of the woodwork because they sensed a long awaited win.

In all seriousness it’s a funny situation because there are good points to pick from, but we are letting ourselves down with soft defending especially on our line, I’d like to see that toughened up sharpish and that’s not a skill issue, it’s a will issue.

Jon Lyon: Without doubt the biggest disappointment is the horrific injury suffered by Tom Davies. Our wingers are suffering no luck at all, with all four badly injured in the last 12 months, and I wish him all the best with his recovery.

The positives included the resoluteness against Salford to come back having yet again thrown away a convincing lead.

We need to stop letting teams back into games when we are well ahead, but having then fallen behind the young team did well to win.

Morgan Smithies had an exceptional game against St Helens, and the left side, with Gildart and Williams especially, seems to be on fire at the moment. Hopefully we can now kick on against Castleford and London.