Adrian Lam drawing on Wigan's Challenge Cup history for inspiration
When Adrian Lam told his players the Challenge Cup could give them memories to last a lifetime, he was speaking from first-hand experience.
The Warriors coach underlined the importance of tomorrow’s clash at Warrington during an emotionally-charged meeting with his players this week.
“The Challenge Cup was the highlight of my career here,” said Lam, a winner in 2002.
“It’s such a special competition, you go into it and it’s do-or-die immediately. I know they know about it and how great Wigan were, but to give it more importance I wanted to remind them when it started, what happened during the war, the moving of the final to Wembley, Wigan’s history...
“There’s a lot of heritage that has underpinned this great club. I wanted them to know what’s gone before them and what’s expected of them.”
Of the current players only Ben Flower, Sean O'Loughlin and Liam Farrell were in the Wigan side which last won the Cup in 2013.
That victory stretched the club's record for most final wins, with 19 – a run which included the 2002 decider at Murrayfield in which Lam played a starring role.
He has vivid memories of the build-up, the game and the homecoming.
“I know I scored a try, set up one, kicked a field goal... didn't get man of the match,” he grinned, nodding to the fact Radlinski won the Lance Todd Trophy after overcoming a foot infection.
“I think they gave it to Rads for the sympathy vote! But in all seriousness, he was super that day – I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it.
“I remember the training session the day before, I said to Andy Farrell, ‘If we play the same way we’ve been playing, we won’t win’.
“I said we need to move the ball a lot more than we had been doing. So we had a meeting and I said to the players, ‘I’ll organise all that, you play the best you can’.
"We changed the way we’d played for four weeks leading up to it, and it worked. You win something like that and the memories stay with you.
"Not just the game - I remember we changed buses at Orrell onto an open-top double-decker, went through Pem into Wigan with people lining the streets... and Terry Newton by my side the whole time, saying ‘How good is this?’ And it was.”