‘He’s been playing out of position’: Leigh Leopards eye new role for ex-Hull FC man Ben McNamara

LEIGH are keen to see Ben McNamara flourish at hooker after signing the youngster from Hull FC.

The 22-year-old spent four seasons in the Hull first team without ever nailing down a regular spot, playing only nine games last term.

After four appearances in his debut 2020 campaign, McNamara played twelve times in 2021 and featured a further eight times the following year.

He has signed a two-year contract with Leigh and reunited with their head coach Adrian Lam, who coached him as a junior at Sydney’s Clovelly Crocodiles when his father and Catalans coach Steve McNamara was on the Roosters staff with Lam.

While Ben McNamara mostly played as a halfback at Hull, the Leopards chief believes his future should in fact be in a different position.

“I coached him for three years and I know what he’s capable of doing. I know he’s a tough kid,” said Lam.

“I think he’s been playing out of position at Hull. You’ll probably see a different position for him moving forward, and I’ve had that conversation with him already. 

“He’s a kid we want to have here because I love his attitude. He’s the ultimate competitor, he’s a good person, and more importantly he’s a talented player.

“I’m hoping to squeeze a little bit more out of him, getting him to the next level, because that’s what he needs to do to make our 17.”

Leigh currently have only Matt Moylan and coach’s son Lachlan Lam as halfbacks, while McNamara faces competition at hooker from Edwin Ipape and Aaron Smith following the departure of pivots Ben Reynolds and Joe Mellor to Featherstone and Salford respectively.

Meanwhile, several members of the Leopards coaching team and squad, plus their owner Derek Beaumont, were guests of the BBC at the Sports Personality of the Year awards prior to Christmas, where they were invited after winning the 2023 Challenge Cup.