5th August 2020, 16:49 | nrl
Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson expects Lachlan Lam to bring energy to the team after handing him the No.7 jersey worn by his father Adrian, the Wigan coach, for the first time in Thursday’s NRL clash with St George Illawarra.
Lam, whose first taste of league was with Wigan St Patricks ARLFC while his father was playing for the Warriors in the early 2000s, was selected at halfback in place of Kyle Flanagan after impressing in the interchange utility role for the past four matches.
The 22-year-old also made four NRL appearances for the Roosters last season but has never previously played in the No.7 jersey his father wore on 146 occasions for the club between 1994 and 2000.
“I really want guys pushing for their best and Lachie Lam has been patient and he is ready to go this week,” Robinson said after dropping Flangan for the WIN Stadium clash.
“He has been a half for a long time, coming through our junior system and Australian schoolboys into our Under 18s and Under 20s.
“He has had to work into a different position while having a great off-season. He has come off the bench, given us great energy and he has got a great connection with the guys around him so now it is time for him to play this week.”
After being called into the Roosters squad as the back-up hooker for Jake Friend in the July 9 clash with North Queensland, the Papua New Guinea international has enjoyed increased involvement with each match.
“I just think that the way we train and the way that our principles are installed in the boys, whenever there is an opportunity you are in and Robbo has trust in everyone,” Lam told the Roosters website.
“I kept myself ready over the [COVID-19] break and over this period of time so that whenever my chance came and no matter what position it was going to be, I was going to play.”
Up against Lam in the Dragons side will be a rookie with another famous name in Tristan Sailor, the son of former Kangaroos winger Wendell, who had a brief stint with Leeds in the late 1990s.
Sailor has been named on the interchange bench and is expected to come on at the five-eighth after performing a similar role in last weekend’s 32-24 loss to South Sydney, which saw Corey Norman dropped from the St George Illawarra team.
The Rabbitohs, led by England prop Thomas Burgess, host Brisbane at ANZ Stadium on Friday, with the Broncos receiving some welcome news this week when English winger Herbie Farnworth re-signed until the end of the 2022 season.
Manly Sea Eagles face the New Zealand Warriors in Friday’s other match at Lottloland, with the Auckland-based club still on the hunt for a new coach after Todd Payten turned down the job to pursue the vacant North Queensland role.
The opening match on Saturday features the clash between the Melbourne Storm, who are without the services of injured captain Cameron Smith, and the Canterbury Bulldogs, whose line-up has been bolstered in recent weeks by the addition of England prop Luke Thompson.
The Storm have signed Toronto Wolfpack centre Ricky Luetele but like Roosters-bound Sonny Bill Williams he is unable to play until he completes a mandatory 14-day quarantine, as Thompson had to after his mid-season arrival from St Helens.
Canberra travel to Penrith on Saturday to meet the competitions leaders, with the English quartet of George Williams, Elliott Whitehead, John Bateman and Ryan Sutton hoping to help the Raiders to a fourth consecutive win after last weekend’s 14-12 triumph in North Queensland.
Other Round 13 matches see Newcastle host Wests Tigers on Saturday, the Queensland derby between the Cowboys and Gold Coast Titans and Sunday’s other clash between Cronulla and Parramatta.