Lance Todd Trophy winner Lachlan Lam follows Alex Murphy into Leigh history books

“LACHLAN LAM is a Leigh legend – 52 years ago it was a crafty halfback called Alex Murphy who lifted Leigh to the ultimate glory, today it is another crafty halfback who won it for Leigh, and the proudest man is his dad.” 

BBC commentator Dave Woods hit the nail squarely on the head, a little more cleanly, if truth be told, than the scrum-half struck the historic golden-point field-goal which clinched his club’s first Challenge Cup final win since 1971.

Murphy was awarded the Lance Todd Trophy when Leeds were beaten, Lam as Hull KR were finally seen off back at Wembley in the first final to be settled by golden point.

As a player, Leigh coach Adrian Lam helped Wigan lift the famous old trophy at Murrayfield in 2002, and like his son 21 years on, scored a try and kicked a field-goal.

But the circumstances were nothing like as dramatic as Saturday, when Matt Parcell’s 79th-minute try, awarded after a lengthy video review by Liam Moore, and Brad Schneider’s conversion took the tie to extra time.

Both sides had made failed attempts at one-pointers before Lachlan, who like Adrian, started his career at Sydney Roosters and is a Papua New Guinea international, received the ball from Gareth O’Brien, who might have had another go himself had Hull KR players not been closing him down.

Staying calm among the chaos, the 25-year-old swung his left foot, which had been increasingly influential on proceedings, for what turned out to be the last time in the match.

“We’ve practised it for a couple of weeks, exactly that set-up. It didn’t look pretty, but it got the job done,” said Adrian, who brought Lachlan to Leigh just over a year ago.

“I didn’t hit it quite as I wanted,” admitted Lachlan, “but it had the legs to fly through.”

There were plenty of other players who had eye-catching games – fullback O’Brien, stand-off Ben Reynolds and loose-forward John Asiata for Leigh and fullback Mikey Lewis, centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall and prop Rhys Kennedy for Hull KR, for example.

They all featured in the Lance Todd Trophy voting by Rugby League journalists, but Lam was a clear winner, especially after his field-goal edged the final, and cemented his place in the Leigh history books.

He had a relatively quiet start to the match, but burst onto centre stage after 27 minutes when after great work by Robbie Mulhern and Asiata, he linked up with Kai O’Donnell, passing to the second row, then supporting him to pouch his return ball and romp through for his side’s first try.

From then on, he was at the heart of most of the good things Leigh did, with his organising obvious and his kicking, both high and low, accurate and effective.

Along with Reynolds and O’Brien, Lam was also central to the fluent move to the right which brought Leigh’s second try for Tom Briscoe after 66 minutes.

As the match progressed, it looked like that would be enough to win it, until Rovers levelled things up late on.

But as the old saying goes, you can’t keep a good man down.

Lam earned 20 of the 29 votes cast, with his halfback partner Reynolds receiving three, Hull KR’s Lewis two, and Asiata, Kennedy, Kenny-Dowall and O’Brien each receiving one vote.