Nou Camp performance was a one-off, says Wigan Warriors boss Adrian Lam
Adrian Lam has underlined the importance of tonight’s Magic Weekend clash with Warrington – saying it is “doubly as important” following their Nou Camp nosedive.
Wigan had appeared to be on the rise after three Super League wins in a row and a narrow Challenge Cup defeat to the Wolves.
But they stumbled to defeat in their last outing, going down 33-16 to Catalans in Barcelona in what Lam described as probably their worst performance of the season.
And with four points separating the Warriors from a place in the top-five, they need the points to keep within touching distance
Lam said: “The performance at Barcelona was so disappointing because we needed the two points, which makes this it doubly as important now.
“I was really disappointed with how we played against Catalans. We didn’t see it coming and so we’re hoping it was a one-off.
“But it was only two weeks ago when we played Warrington and we went down by two points and felt we were probably the better side.
“And to get the chance to face them again, in another great stadium, is one we’re all excited about.”
Wigan have the best Magic Weekend record of all the clubs, having not lost ‘on the road’ since 2008.
Fans heading to Anfield can watch two games before Wigan and Warrington take to the stage.
Catalans take on Wakefield at 2pm, with the clash between Hull FC and Huddersfield at 4.30pm – with plenty of activities squeezed in between.
“I love the Magic concept,” said Lam. “I think Super League has done a lot of things right and the fact the NRL copied it this year gives you an indication that it’s a successful format. For us, going from the Nou Camp to Anfield is as good as it gets.”
Last week was the first occasion this year Lam has been able to name the same 17-man squad in successive matches.
He won’t have that luxury today. Hooker Sam Powell and winger Liam Marshall have joined Wigan’s lengthy injury list and Thomas Leuluai is a doubt with a shoulder injury.
On the plus side, Aussie halfback Jarrod Sammut is set to return while Jake Shorrocks is also in the frame - possibly as a bench hooker.
Today’s game kicks-off at 7pm and the winners will not only get the two points, but also the Locker Cup, which has been revived after 24 years in Wigan’s trophy-cabinet.
The silverware was traditionally played for during a pre-season friendly.
Wigan and Warrington staged a joint media event at the Locker wire-making factory in Warrington this week - which brought back memories for Lam.
“I’m a cabinet maker by trade, and being in the workshop there reminds me of the place I worked after school,” he said.
“I loved that job - I almost turned down Sydney Roosters because I loved it so much.
“And when I did go, I got employed as a handyman for the Easts League club and learned how to plumb, do the electrics, the tiling... it stood me in good stead.”