Luke at him now! Adrian Lam set for coaching duel against ex-Wigan understudy Robinson
Adrian Lam is ready for a coaching duel tomorrow night – against the man he felt should have been his successor as Wigan halfback.
Huddersfield interim boss Luke Robinson was Lam’s understudy when he broke through into the Warriors side in 2002.
But after three years shadowing the former Queensland captain, he was released to join Salford – at the same time Lam hung up his boots.
Robinson went onto play for England and is now carving out a successful coaching career and stepped up when Simon Woolford left this year – and faces his early mentor tomorrow.
Lam said: “In my last two years as a player, he was under me and I spent a lot of time with him and taking him kicking and doing the extras. He was a typical English half - aggressive, tenacious, small, a bit of a pitbull.
“I respect him highly, he seems to have made a difference at Huddersfield.”
Robinson was allowed to leave when the current Warriors boss retired from playing – the club brought in Dennis Moran for the 2005 campaign.
“I think they got that wrong,” says Lam. “But he went on to do some good stuff at other clubs.”
Robinson says he learned a lot from shadowing Lam during his early playing career.
“He was great with me, a really nice, welcoming bloke,” said the 36-year-old. “He took me under his wing, and showed me how the game was meant to be played.
“When I was 17 I never really thought about what was going on, I never had the greatest of kicking games, he took me aside and I’m forever thankful for the help he gave me.”
Robinson was often used off the bench but deputised when Lam was injured, including playing in the 2003 Grand Final loss to Bradford.
“I was only a baby, my role was mainly to give Terry Newton a rest and come on as an energiser bunny for 15 minutes and cause havoc around the tired forwards,” he said, before adding about the ‘03 final: “For me – I was quite young – we’d have had a better shot if Lammy was No.7 and I was on the bench.
“We had a really young side and someone like that, a calming influence, would have really helped.
“Unfortunately we didn’t win it and it still haunts me to this day, I still have nightmares about it.”
Lam will wait until tomorrow to decide whether to bring back Dom Manfredi on the wing, in place of Jake Bibby.
His other big decision was whether to replace suspended Joe Greenwood with marquee prop George Burgess, who has figured just six times this season due to a hip complaint. Liam Byrne and Harry Smith are his other two options.
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