Adrian Lam's praise for Wigan Warriors match-winner Zak Hardaker

Zak Hardaker breaks clear to score the winning try against Salford
Zak Hardaker breaks clear to score the winning try against Salford

Adrian Lam hailed the character of his side as Zak Hardaker took centre stage - quite literally - to help Wigan snap a three-game losing run.

The Warriors trailed by two points at Salford with four minutes to go when former Man of Steel Hardaker swept over to clinch a thrilling 30-26 win.

Hardaker was playing his first game at centre after Lam switched him to bring in French full-back Morgan Escare.

Lam said: "It's always been in my mind as an option at some stage, but Zak is defensively as good as any full-back in the competition and it's been hard to move him.

"I wanted to give Morgan a run with him having fresh legs, and Zak ended up scoring the try in the centre position, so maybe it was a bit of fate."

The win lifted Wigan up a spot to ninth - six points away from a top-five spot - ahead of home games against Castleford and London in the next 10 days.

Earlier, Wigan had taken a 14-0 lead - a reflection of their composed start - before Salford fought back to take a 26-20 lead.

Joe Greenwood's second try narrowed the margin to two points before Hardaker had the vital say.

"I'm going to lose my hair within the next couple of weeks!" said Lam.

"I was really pleased with the courage of the players and the attitude at the start - we started well.

"We've got a lot of young players in there and we lost that period of the game when we didn't have experience on there, so we had to get them on there to steady the ship, and a bit of brilliance from George and Zak got us over the line.

"All the players were disappointed with the Saints game on Good Friday.

"We knew, to beat Saints, we'd have to play at our best and we weren't close to that.

"But we had the opportunity to wipe the slate and get some confidence, and we got that."

Among the young players on show was Amir Bourouh, a compact and lively hooker who became the fourth academy-graduate to be handed a debut this year.

"He's another 18-year-old, we presented his jersey in the dressing room with his mum there and I thought he was outstanding given his lack of experience," added Lam.