Reserves is massive for Super League, says Wigan Warriors coach Adrian Lam

Wigan coach Adrian Lam
Wigan coach Adrian Lam

Adrian Lam says reviving the reserve competition is “massive” for Super League.

The Warriors coach says the current system – in which players too old for the Under-19s picked up game-time on loan or dual-registration for other clubs – was insufficient.

It was confirmed last week the reserves would return next year – a move welcomed by Lam, who began his coaching career with Wigan’s Under-21s and later worked with juniors at Sydney Roosters.

“I think it’s massive for rugby league in this country,” he said. “It’s such a big thing... for this game to keep growing, it needed better pathways.”

He revealed some of the difficulties he has had trying to assess the form of fringe players who are plying their trade in the Championship or League One.

“I’ve seen players at all the clubs they’ve been at – Leigh, Swinton, Dewsbury, London Skolars – and it’s hard,” he said.

“Sometimes the opposition isn’t the best, sometimes the pitches aren’t the greatest, you try and judge them on their actions but it’s difficult.

“The reserves gives them an opportunity to play in our systems, and play alongside players they know – some will be first-teamers who can’t get in – so you can make a much better judgement call.”

The loan and dual-reg options will still be available for 2020 but Lam added: “I just don’t like the idea of them (only having dual-reg). It’s hard to send two or three to play for London Skolars and then expect them to be here at 9am the day later for training.

“But I’m not just thinking selfishly, this a massive step in the right direction.”