Adrian Lam is confident he can propel Wigan to “a new level” after starting his tenure as coach.
He flew out of Sydney on Wednesday and has wasted no time in making preparations for the start of pre-season training, which begins on Monday.
Lam was quick to praise predecessor Shaun Wane, who departed in October with a third Grand Final triumph.
And with star players Sam Tomkins and John Bateman leaving – as well as senior staff such as head of performance Mark Bitcon – he sees this as the start of a new era for the club.
Lam, who will be in charge for 12 months until Shaun Edwards arrives, said: “Shaun Wane has done an amazing job but this is a new start.
“What’s great is the systems they have in place are second to none, so my role is to bring some football to the players, and I think that’ll be exciting.
“I’m looking forward to getting them to a new level. That’s the exciting part for the players.
“I was fortunate to play at this great club and when the opportunity came up to come back and coach, I couldn’t be any more excited.
“The challenge for me is to maintain where they’re at, and then take them forward.
“I watched them (last season) and while they were successful I think they can be better. They were resilient but I think their attack can be better.
“They’ve lost key staff and some experienced players.
“So it’s a new era for the club, and I’m fortunate to be a part of that and hopefully we can stamp our own approval in time.”
Time is something Lam won’t have on his side as he begins to put his own fingerprints on the team.
With six internationals – four from England, two from France – only arriving back for pre-season around Christmas, and the new campaign starting at the end of January, he will have only a few weeks working with the players.
And while their start to the campaign is a daunting prospect, with mouth-watering showdowns with St Helens, Leeds and Sydney Roosters in the World Club Challenge, Lam is confident they can improve as the campaign unfolds.
“The thing I’ve had to get through my head is that in Australia, a lot of clubs start training in late-October and then they don’t start playing until March,” said Lam.
“We’re starting now but some of our players don’t get back until the week before Christmas, so they literally have four or five weeks before our first game.
“So it may take a few weeks to get the machine rolling.
“We’ve got a pretty tough initiation with St Helens, Leeds and the Roosters, but that’s exciting.
“We’ve lost a couple of boys there and the biggest challenge immediately will be replacing that experience, and that may take some time.
“We will get there, but that’s the main challenge.”
Lam was unveiled as Wane’s successor in August in an unusual move which will see Edwards join for 2020.
Both were former No.7s for Wigan and Lam, the Australia assistant coach, has not given up hope of adding an additional halfback to his roster for next season.
The Warriors failed to prise Jackson Hastings away from Salford and Lam confirmed his son, Lachlan, will be staying at Sydney Roosters.
“He was offered a contract and I asked, but his mum said ‘no’!” smiled the amicable ex-Queensland captain.
“I would love to have Lachlan here, I’ve coached him all his life, I think he’d do well here.
“But he’s done his apprenticeship at the Roosters – he won player of the year at Under-16s, 18s, 20s, and now he’s in (the senior squad) behind Cooper Cronk, it’d be unfair to take him out of that when he’s earned that chance.
“Never say never, I spoke to the Roosters and they were happy for him to come as long as they could get him back straight away, but then it’d become a bit of a nightmare.”
Wigan have recruited Zak Hardaker (Castleford) and prop Joe Bullock (Barrow) for next season, while centre Chris Hankinson (Swinton) and forward Joe Greenwood (Gold Coast) arrived in mid-season.