‘Difficult times’: Adrian Lam on Leigh Leopards’ struggles and way out

ADRIAN LAM insists Leigh are “really close” to finding a way out of their current predicament.

The Leopards have lost five of their opening six Super League games this season after a heavy defeat to neighbours Wigan on Thursday night.

Their only wins so far have come against another top-flight straggler, Hull FC, and in the Challenge Cup against Championship side Featherstone, which set up a rematch of last year’s final on Saturday at Hull KR in the last eight.

But if they are to enjoy another run to Wembley, or indeed to the Super League play-offs, they will have to improve fast.

While there is plenty of mitigation to be found, with key long-term injury absentees in John Asiata, Edwin Ipape and Tom Amone, coach Lam doesn’t want to be waiting until they return.

“We’ve just got to stay positive with what we’ve got,” he said.

“I had a conversation in the dressing room (after the Wigan loss) about just making sure that we stick together through this.

“When we come through it, the players who are playing big minutes and normally wouldn’t otherwise, I think that will put us in good shape once the other players come back. 

“But I’m also a coach who doesn’t want to wait until the other players are back. We’ve got to perform now.”

While building on a hugely successful 2023 has been Leigh’s stated aim this campaign, for now simply recapturing that magic would be a start.

And while they lost 40-12 to world champions Wigan, Lam believes he saw some of that in their performance.

“In patches, including at the start of the game, I was really happy with what we did,” he said.

“It felt like there was a lot of last year in that, which is what we’re striving to get with so many new faces and positional changes every week. It’s hard to get that but I certainly saw some of it.

“I was proud of the effort that we had at times. It wasn’t for 80 minutes, and there were certainly some bad moments for us.

“But there were times when I saw us back. I’ve some good feelings about that.”

Lam hailed the efforts of Umyla Hanley (who has scored eight tries in five matches covering for Tom Briscoe on the wing), Ben McNamara (in part replacing hooker Ipape) and middle men Dan Norman and Owen Trout.

“I’m pleased those boys got some minutes and they’re going to get better,” added Lam.

“I just have to remind myself not to be negative about any of this, to stay positive. Because these are difficult times and we’ve got to stick together.”