Written by Zack Wilson
Photo by Photo Sky Sports
The travails and troubles that beset Wigan Warriors in the early parts of the 2019 season look to be receding.
That certainly looked the case a couple of weeks ago, as Adrian Lam’s men stormed to a 52-10 victory over Hull Kingston Rovers, a team who had been improving themselves in recent weeks.
It was the manner of the Warriors’ victory that really impressed observers, with Liam Marshall scoring a hat-trick, and Wigan crossing for nine tries in total.
“It was fantastic – it was good as a coach because we’ve been building to that and we haven’t really blown a team away like tonight,” said Lam afterwards.
“There was some great attack and some absolutely tough defence as well.
“It’s just the beginning, so don’t get too excited about it all – I want to keep our feet grounded.”
They were brought back to the ground pretty solidly in the derby with St Helens last Friday evening, losing 32-10 to their fiercest rivals.
But they have a chance to bounce back this week when they face Wakefield Trinity on Thursday at the DW Stadium.
The club also seems to have a greater sense of purpose when it comes to planning for the future.
Lam was recently confirmed as the coach for 2020, while it has also been confirmed that Dan Sarginson and George Williams will be leaving the club at the end of the season.
Lam has been in a tricky position at the club, having initially joined for what was supposed to be just one season.
“With many off-field distractions, Adrian has done well to steady the ship and climb the Super League table,” said executive director Kris Radlinski.
The Shaun Edwards saga, which embarrassed the club and cast a stormy cloud over the Warriors for some weeks earlier this season, was also difficult for Lam.
The former Papua New Guinea international remained dignified throughout, though, and has certainly burnished his reputation with his conduct and coaching as the year has progressed.
The Warriors have not delayed when it comes to finding a replacement for Williams, either, with the signing of Jackson Hastings from Salford confirmed for next season.
“In Jackson Hastings, we have secured the services of one of the most sought-after talents in the game,” said Radlinski.
“We have fought off interest from around Super League and in the NRL.”
There seems to be a real sense of purpose returning to the club, after their aims and objectives became diffuse and difficult to discern in the spring.
Earlier in the season, especially around April, when Edwards made his decision not to come to the club as coach in 2020, the club looked to be drifting into danger.
A new sense of grip has been re-established since then, though, and it would be an unwise rugby league fan who would rule the Warriors out of the running to make the Grand Final this year.
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