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2 days ago
Former Queensland Origin halfback Adrian Lam has accepted the role of assistant coach at the Cronulla Sharks.
Lam signed a two-year deal with the Shire club, reuniting him with head coach Stuart Raper, who previously coached him at Wigan in the English Super League.
Lam, who played 14 State of Origin matches and 21 tests for Papua New Guinea, replaces Peter Gentle, who has joined Wests Tigers' coaching staff.
Raper said he was looking forward to again working with Lam, who coached Wigan's under-21 side last year after completing a three-year playing stint with the Warriors.
"I coached him at Wigan and had a couple of seasons there with him and we won the Challenge Cup (in 2002)," Raper said.
"I was always impressed with Adrian's outlook on rugby league, the way he talked to players and the way he evaluated the game, not only as a player but his contribution during the week.
"At halftime or before the game he would always come up with sensible comments."
It is understood Lam was on a handshake deal to again coach Wigan's under-21 squad and didn't commit to the Sharks until he had the blessing of Wigan boss Maurice Lindsay.
Raper guided Wigan to the Super League grand final in 2001 and masterminded its Challenge Cup final success in 2002, but was sacked by Lindsay midway through the next season.
"Adrian was well-liked and looked after in Wigan and Maurice decided it was fair to let Adrian come," Raper said.
"It happens all the time in rugby league, you need to let blokes progress and take an opportunity.
"While Maurice sacked me, he wasn't spiteful enough to stop Adrian from helping me out.
"That was good, I've got no problem with Maurice."
Lam, who will begin his coaching assignment with the Sharks in a fortnight, would have the respect of the players, Raper said.
"For me personally, he gives me another set of eyes and some new ideas, that's always important," Raper said.
"His ideas are very good and I think he'll work well one-on-one with the blokes, especially with the senior guys.
"He's a good bloke, he's got a good footy brain and I know he's had some success over there and was thought of very highly as a coach for what he's done in the lower grades at Wigan."