Lachlan Lam has been voted the 2023 Player of the Year by the Rugby League Writers and Broadcasters Association – following in the footsteps of his father, Adrian, who won the award 21 years ago.
Lam, a 25-year-old half-back who played for Papua New Guinea in last year’s Rugby League World Cup, won the Lance Todd Trophy after kicking the winning drop goal for Leigh Leopards in the Betfred Challenge Cup Final against Hull KR at Wembley in August.
He has also been consistently impressive as the Leopards secured a place in the Super League play-offs for the first time in the history of the Leigh club – after being signed by his dad, now the Leopards head coach, from Sydney Roosters midway through Leigh’s promotion campaign from the Betfred Championship in 2022.
Lam becomes the first Leigh player to win the award since it was introduced in 1996, when Apollo Perelini of St Helens was the first winner in the first Super League season.
Players from 10 clubs have now been recognised. Adrian Lam was the seventh winner when he was playing for Wigan in 2002, and more recent winners have included the St Helens hooker James Roby in 2018 and Sam Tomkins in 2011 and 2012 when he was playing for Wigan and in 2021 as a Catalans Dragons player – the only man to win the award three times.
Roby and Tomkins, two of the finest players of the Super League era who have each confirmed that this will be their last season, go head to head in the first of this weekend’s semi finals in Perpignan.
Last year’s winner, Jai Field, will line up alongside the 2020 winner, Bevan French, for Wigan Warriors in the second semi final against Hull KR on Saturday.