Adrian Lam looks ahead to Friday’s Betfred Super League Play-Off Qualifier tie vs Salford Red Devils.
Lam: “It’s now the most important time of the season to get things right.”
Wigan Warriors vs Salford Red Devils, Friday 20th September, DW Stadium, K.O. 7:45pm
Wigan Warriors Head Coach Adrian Lam has challenged his players to improve further as they prepare for Friday’s crucial Play-Off Qualifier tie with Salford Red Devils at the DW Stadium (K.O. 7:45pm).
Speaking at the Betfred Super League Play-Off Launch Event at Old Trafford on Monday, Lam reflected on his first season in charge of the Cherry and Whites.
“It’s absolutely flown by. What we wanted at the start of the season has taken a while to get there, but it has been a great experience so far.
“It’s been hard work to finish second but on Thursday night (against Castleford Tigers) we found ourselves four points clear in second spot, which was like ‘what the heck, how’d that happen?’”
On how his side have worked through trickier periods of the season, he commented: “I’ve learned a lot of lessons as coach, about sticking to what our original philosophy was and not changing what we were doing. It’s now the most important time of the season to get things right.
“I said to our squad that massive credit goes to them because of the hard work that they’ve put in. We’ve got players who have been here before such as (Sean) O’Loughlin, (Ben) Flower and (Liam) Farrell, who will be back this week - they will certainly boost the team.”
Wigan will come up against Ian Watson’s Salford for the fourth time this season when they visit the DW Stadium on Friday night. On his opponents’ season, Lam said: “They’ve been really good, credit to them for finishing in third spot.
“They’ve worked really hard to finish ahead of Warrington and they’ve had eight wins in a row. This is going to be a tough game. If we don’t work hard to get it right then we will be disappointed. We’ve got to make sure our attitude is great and make sure we’re not complacent.”
The boss also praised half-back Jackson Hastings, who has been instrumental for Salford this season.
“Jackson has played a massive part in them being successful. His leadership has certainly helped them control each game and with great individual players outside of him who can test any defence around the park.”
In the Play-Off system, every game matters, be it for semi-final placing or to stay in the race for the Grand Final. In the high-stake rugby to come, Lam explained that he had issued his players with targets in this crucial week, where the winner will travel to St Helens for a place at Old Trafford.
“The challenge to the players this week is to feel that we can still improve as a team by one or two levels. Let’s get better because we need to get better. I’m looking forward to the players taking on that challenge and I’m also hoping there’s a big crowd at home to support us.
“It could be our final home game of the season if we play our cards right. It could also be the last time to see the likes of George Williams and Dan Sarginson at the DW Stadium. I know the fans are going to get behind us massively. We would like to see as many in their Cherry and White on Friday as we can.”
The Head Coach also provided an update on injuries in the Wigan squad ahead of Friday’s game.
“Dan Sarginson - we replaced him last week as a precautionary one, regarding his hamstring. At the moment he is 50/50. Liam Marshall will probably come back from his hamstring injury.
“Joe Bullock is still two or three weeks away. Jarrod Sammut will start training this week but is still two weeks away.”
Speaking prior to the announcement of the weekly Disciplinary Review Panel, Lam highlighted the possible suspension of forward Ollie Partington.
“Ollie Partington may have a one-match suspension from last week’s game. There’s also Liam Farrell coming back from his suspension.”
Wigan Warriors Season Ticket Holders have until Tuesday 17th September (5pm) to save their seat for Friday’s game. They also have until Thursday 19th (5pm) to make use of a £5 discount. Book your ticket NOW by calling 01942 311111 or clicking HERE.
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