Do-or-die time for Wigan Warriors as Adrian Lam bids to continue title defence

Adrian Lam

Adrian Lam believes that a second bite at the cherry is all that Wigan Warriors can ask for.

The defending Betfred Super League champions were soundly beaten by bitter rivals St Helens in their play-off semi-final last Friday, but a week on they will have another shot at the Old Trafford final.

They host the Salford Red Devils in the second semi-final as they gun for what would be an unprecedented 23rd crown in their proud history.

But the Wigan head coach has ensured that sights remain firmly on their Friday night season-definer, with the Grand Final showpiece a taboo term around the Warriors training ground.

“On Saturday we decided not to talk about St Helens again, because the importance of this performance this week is crucial for us, because it’s do-or-die,” Lam explained.

“If we don’t get it right, it’s the end of our season, so we can’t look forward to St Helens.

“Salford are a team that you can see are playing for each other. They’ve done extremely well this season, gone under the radar – a bit like us at times.

“We feel that in these situations we’ve got the most experienced players in the competition, so they need to step up and play the way that they know we can play.

“A lot of them were disappointed by their own personal performances, so it’s an exciting week, not a nervous week.

“They’re coming here, got some great individuals who can hurt us. We know that this week is about us, but we also know that it’s going to be a close game: every encounter we’ve had with them this year has come down to the wire, so we can see this being no different.”

In his first full season with the Super League titans, Lam led the reigning champions to a second-place finish in the standings, well adrift, however, of runaway leaders St Helens.

And after his side’s 40-10 defeat to Saints last time out, the 49-year-old believes that he has the staff to deliver the necessary response.

“I’ve got some great, experienced players here, some great leaders and some players who have played in these situations over a long period of time,” he continued.

“I know the players will respond really well accordingly. It’s about attitude for us. We respect Salford, they come here on some good form, but what we’ve done great over the last six months is earn the right for that second chance.

“We’ve got that now at home. At the start of the season if someone had said it would be down to 80 minutes against Salford at home to make the Grand Final, we would’ve taken that.

“For me and us, we want to respond to how we played last weekend, and the best way of doing that is making sure we’re prepared well this week, making sure that attitudes are right, that we need our best performances, and when we take on Salford, we play the way that Wigan can play.”

The Betfred Super League Grand Final is the biggest night in Super League and takes place at Old Trafford, the iconic home of Manchester United on Saturday 12 October (6pm KO). Secure your seat by visiting https://www.superleague.co.uk/tickets/grand-final