New Wigan coach Adrian Lam is relishing the prospect of facing his former boss Trent Robinson, when the two face off in the World Club Challenge at the DW Stadium on 17 February next year.
Lam, who will arrive in Wigan in just over a week’s time to take over the reins from Shaun Wane, will coach his new side in a World Club Challenge against NRL Premiers Sydney Roosters for the second time in six years.
Their previous encounter was in 2014, when Wigan travelled to Sydney but were unable to prevent the Roosters from running out 36-14 winners.
“The Roosters are a formidable outfit. They were the best team in the NRL all year and they deserved to win the Grand Final,” Lam told League Express.
“They will bring a strong side, with not too many players turning over in their squad although there are some question marks about Cooper Cronk.
“I was involved with both clubs in my playing career, I love them both dearly, although I haven’t had a chance to swap notes with the Roosters’ coaching staff.
“They are on a break at the moment and they are all away on holiday while I have just got back from the Kangaroo tour of New Zealand.”
While there, Lam was part of the Kangaroo coaching team that prepared the team to face Tonga in Auckland, which is an experience he won’t forget.
“That was one of the highlights of my coaching life. The atmosphere was unbelievable. I have experienced something like it at PNG but not to that extent.
“The Tongan supporters sang the Aussie national anthem as loudly as they sang their own and I can’t explain to people how great it was.
“Mal Meninga has been working really hard to develop Rugby League’s international profile and there will be a lot of discussions about this at the Rugby League International Federation meeting in York this week.
“As for Wigan, I’m aware we are losing Sam Tomkins, John Bateman and Ryan Sutton, and I think it may take us until a quarter of the season to get to where we want to be as a team. The players who are still there are very experienced and Zak Hardaker coming into fullback will be very helpful.”