Adrian Lam says a Wigan Warriors signing would be "handy"... as he comments on Phil Clarke's remarks

Adrian Lam admits a mid-season recruit would be “handy” – as he described comments by Phil Clarke about Wigan’s props as “close to the money”.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 11:00 am
Updated Thursday, 15th July 2021, 11:22 am
Adrian Lam

Warriors coach Lam didn’t sound too optimistic about the prospect of adding to his squad before the summer deadline, without ruling it out.

Many Wigan fans have been disappointed the club didn’t replace George Burgess when the prop departed due to a hip injury ahead of the second year of his lucrative marquee contract.

And Sky Sports pundit Clarke believes that has been at the root of their problems this year, saying they can only be title-contenders if they recruit or Wigan’s experienced props raise their game.

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“(By) not replacing George Burgess with a big front-rower to lead the side, the younger players have over-performed continually and they needed help in the middle of the pitch,” said Clarke, the ex-Wigan and Great Britain No.13, ahead of Sunday’s 16-12 win against Huddersfield.

On whether they can still compete for the title, he added: “Only if they can bring in some extra firepower.

“Or if Brad Singleton, Tony Clubb and Joe Bullock can start to play to a level I haven’t seen in their time here at Wigan.”

Wigan also have 28-year-old Mitch Clarke, who scored a try against Huddersfield on Sunday, among their older props.

But the rest of their middles – Ethan Havard, Liam Byrne, Ollie Partington, Joe Shorrocks and Morgan Smithies – are aged 20 to 22.

Asked about Clarke’s comments, Lam - a former Sydney Roosters team-mate - replied: “He’s probably close to the money there.

“It’s difficult, you want to be playing your best week-in week-out, we got the first seven wins of the season but deep down, they were quite clunky.

“We haven’t reached that part where we’re rolling into games, playing good rugby. That’s what I’m looking forward to.

“That comes with having your best players and I feel our best rugby is still ahead of us.

“We’ve come through that difficult period (of losing five in a row), we’ve still got 10 of our potential stating 17 not in contention for selection this week, which is a headache, but we’re not worrying about that, we just get on with it.

“But it’s right (that) I’m asking more from our senior players – not only our middles – but Sam Powell, Tommy Leuluai, the list goes on.

"A bit more from them would be ideal.”

Wigan haven’t confirmed any new signings for next season but they have been active, recruiting London winger Abbas Miski while it’s thought deals for Leigh centre Iain Thornley and an NRL prop are also in the pipeline.

But they haven’t been linked with any players for the rest of this year.

“It is contractual-time throughout Super League, in June and July you’re always looking at options to come in and let go, you’re forever managing your roster,” added Lam.

“I can’t assume it’s going to change.

“If someone pops up, we’ll take a look, and if he fits the mould... never say never, but a fresh body to the group would be handy.”