12 August 2023

Leigh hero Lachlan Lam reveals cup-winning drop-goal was step into unknown

12 August 2023

Leigh Leopards hero Lachlan Lam revealed he entered unknown territory when he let fly with the drop-goal that sealed his side’s historic Betfred Challenge Cup final win over Hull KR at Wembley.

Lam was set up by team-mate Gareth O’Brien, who minutes earlier had missed his own glaring opportunity to clinch the winner in golden point extra time, and duly converted for the first time in his career.

“It was my first pro field goal, and it felt like I had a lot of time when I kicked it,” said Lam, one of the stand-outs of the season who added the prestigious Lance Todd Trophy for his man of the match display in Leigh’s 17-16 win.

“We’ve done a lot of work on it in the last few months because you know you’re going to be in that position at some stage,” added Lam. “Gaz missed the first one and had the trust to throw it back to me to take that kick.

“I dropped it a little bit on the angle but halfway towards the posts I knew it was going over. It happened really quickly. I went to celebrate and all of a sudden I was on my back.”

Leigh’s win, which continued an astonishing first season back among the top flight, was fashioned in the most dramatic of circumstances after Matt Parcell helped haul Rovers level with 80 seconds left of normal time.

After O’Brien missed the first chance to win it, the usually dependable Brad Schneider came up short for Hull KR with a rash long-ranger and gave Lam, the son of Leopards head coach Adrian, the chance to seal a fairytale title.

This time last year we were coming in to prepare for the (1895 Cup) final. How that's gone around in the last 12 months, it's an incredible story for rugby league for us even to be here.

The pride was etched on the face of father Adrian, the architect of Leigh’s amazing campaign, who said: “It’s just incredible to talk about how this has happened.

“This time last year we were coming in to prepare for the (1895 Cup) final. How that’s gone around in the last 12 months, it’s an incredible story for rugby league for us even to be here.

“I don’t just want to make it about Lachlan but it was a special moment. I’ve thought this week how lucky I am having him playing here for my team and doing well.

“It was just a really weird moment when he went to take the field goal, the ball was thrown back to him and I thought, he’s going to win us the game here.

“I’ve coached him since he was six so what went through my mind was knowing how many times we’d been in the opposite position and been left heartbroken, so that was a bit of serendipity.”

Rovers boss Willie Peters hoped his side had the momentum following their late fightback but admitted a botched extra period cost them dear.

Instead of the ice-cool way in which they sank Wigan in similar circumstances in the semi-final, Rovers coughed up an early error then Schneider’s snatched effort failed to find touch.

“I thought our luck had changed and we had got the momentum,” said Peters. “But we’ve got to learn our lessons and Leigh showed us how to play in golden point, we took six carries and went for a long-distance field goal.

“We didn’t handle golden point very well but I’m very proud of the players. We just hung in there and it proves the fight and character of this team to keep going to the end there and lock it up.

“We had our chances so it’s really hard to take. We will have a good little break now but we have always come back and responded, and on Friday when we go to St Helens, if we want to be flat and complacent we’re in for a long night.”

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