BUSY Leigh Leopards coach Adrian Lam is set for a well-earned Christmas break.
Having masterminded his club’s return to Super League at the first attempt, sealed with a 44-12 play-off final win over Batley in October, the former Wigan coach linked up with Australia for the World Cup.
Working as right-hand man to head coach Mal Meninga, Lam played his part as the Kangaroos remained world champions via victories over Fiji, Scotland and Italy during the group stages, then Lebanon, New Zealand and, in the final, Samoa over the course of the five-week tournament.
He then returned to Leigh, and a new-look squad, to lead pre-season training as they rebranded Leopards look to a round-one home meeting with Salford in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Friday, February 17.
Head of rugby Chris Chester, who has worked with Lam to bring in twelve new players so far, is determined to do everything possible to rid the club of their yo-yo tag after each of their three previous Super League stints lasted just one season.
“Adrian has been working flat out for a long time now,” said Chester, who brought his former Wigan teammate to the club in 13 months ago in the wake of relegation.
“He’s done a great job (Leigh also won last season’s 1895 Cup), and success helps ward off fatigue.
“It was a proud moment to see someone from our club play a part in a World Cup success as well.
“We knew his schedule was hectic, but we also agreed it was important he got back to the club as quickly as possible after the tournament.
“With a number of new additions to the squad, we felt it crucial that he put down his marker on pre-season at the earliest opportunity.
“He and (assistant) Tony Clubb have been working hard with the squad, and we’re pleased with the progress so far.
“Adrian now has the chance of a break, and will be back early in the new year to continue preparations.”