'Why Adrian Lam was the right choice to stay as Wigan Warriors coach' - comment

Adrian Lam
Adrian Lam

Adrian Lam won one trophy during his playing career at Wigan. The former halfback will now get a chance to beat that feat after signing on to coach Wigan in 2020.

It was the right choice.

After a rocky start - in part, surely, due to the overhaul in the off-season - he has put Wigan on course to give their title defence a real crack.

Five straight wins have propelled them up the ladder to fourth and, as they showed in the 52-10 demolition of Hull KR last Friday, they are beginning to play with the attacking flair he promised to deliver.

And he has navigated the side against a backdrop of off-field drama and negativity.

It's impossible to gauge what impact Shaun Edwards' public, drawn-out U-turn had on the team, and there were more serious issues to deal with, such as Gabe Hamlin's UKAD suspension and Craig Mullen's drink-driving conviction.

When Taulima Tautai was later charged with the same criminal offence, the coach faced fresh questions about the culture of the club under his watch; as if it was somehow Lam's fault that a 31-year-old decided to get behind the wheel of a car at 4am while twice over the limit!

At times, it's been hard not to feel a little sorry for Lam, who was thrust into a position he didn't sign up for but has yet handled it with diplomacy.

He is personable with fans and the media, his love for the club is obvious from the emotion he often displays.

He has always been respectful of his predecessor Shaun Wane, while admitting he wanted to put his own fingerprints on the playing style.

Like Wane, though, he has been keen to promote from within, giving debuts to four academy-products and pinning his faith in young forwards Morgan Smithies and Ollie Partington.

Ian Lenagan has a good track record with coaches, both in choosing them and being patient in tough times - he has never sacked a coach, not at Wigan or at previous club London.

And when Wigan were in the bottom half of the ladder, he still said Lam was the favourite to continue.

And Lam was happy to admit he wanted to continue. Last week, he said he was ready to start talking about a deal and a contract has now been agreed.

Now the ink has dried on a one-year extension, it allows him, and Wigan, to crack on with their play-offs push knowing there will be stability in place when the season finishes.