Lam optimistic going into playoffs

Wigan Warriors coach Adrian Lam concedes that his team has had its ups and downs during the 2021 season, but, as he awaits the visit of Leeds Rhinos on Thursday night for the opening match in the Super League playoffs, he is confident that his side is coming good at the right time.

Lam was delighted to gain a 12-8 victory over Super League leaders Catalans Dragons at the DW Stadium on Friday night, particularly as he rested several key players against a strong Dragons side.

Liam Marshall, Brad Singleton and Morgan Smithies were excluded from the 21-man Wigan squad, while Sam Powell, Liam Farrell, John Bateman and Umyla Hanley were all excluded from the 17-man squad selected for the game.

“I’m very proud, there were a lot of changes to the team – but we’d played more games than anyone else so we decided to freshen up the side,” said Lam.

“We’ll play Leeds on a six day turnaround, it’ll be here before you know it, so we need to keep our feet on the ground and rise again next Thursday.”

Lam will check on shoulder injuries suffered by backrower James McDonnell, who scored one of Wigan’s two tries on Friday night after being recalled from a loan deal at York City Knights, and prop Joe Bullock.

Other than that, Lam is expected to name a strong squad for Thursday night’s game and he concedes that his squad is in a better position now than previously at any time this season.

“Yes, a lot of the players are playing close to their best rugby and in two out of three of our recent away game we have held the home team to nil,” he added.

“Some teams have played four or five games less than us, but we are in a really good place as a group, but we need to keep trying to score more points.

“I thought to myself that with the challenges we have had this year, we’ve done pretty good, given our injury record. Eight out of the 17 at Huddersfield, for example, were under 21 and we went there and won.

“We have given our absolute all this year; we are in control of our performances and hopefully we’ll be rewarded for our efforts.”

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