Jackson Hastings admits the chance to work with Adrian Lam swayed his decision to join Wigan for 2020.
The half-back – a frontrunner for the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award – knows Lam well from his time at former club Sydney Roosters.
Lam never coached Hastings in the junior ranks but his son, Lachlan, was a half-back partner in the Under-20s.
“I’d go down to Coogee and get a coffee with Locky, and Lammy would come in – with no shirt on – and offer to shout," smiled Hastings.
"So we go way back, I’ve known him a long time and in the Under-20s, he’d give me his time if I needed it.
“Him staying on at Wigan was a big reason I decided to join. I’ve got one of the best English coaches right now, Ian Watson, who should get Coach of the Year and rightly so, but I’ve known Lammy a long time and it’ll be good to be coached by him.”
Many Wigan fans have paid close attention to Hastings’ form since he signed with Wigan for next year – but the 23-year-old is not banking on any home support.
“I don’t expect too many cheers this week, and it’s all part of what makes English rugby league so good,” said Hastings.
“I don’t think we’re expected to come close on Friday night, nobody has given us a chance all year, but we’ve got the self-belief we can do something in this competition.”
And what of his future employers? Where does he see their strengths?
“It’s no secret their whole team is great, they’re probably the best all-round team in the competition, very tough and physical,” he said. “Their left edge is a big threat but in saying that, (Thomas) Leuluai and Zak Hardaker have been really good, so there are way too many threats to single out one.”