Lachlan Lam out to create his own legacy

Young Roosters playmaker Lachlan Lam has his famous father's last name, plays at the same club and even represents the same state through a legacy rule – but he's keen to do things his own way.

The 20-year-old recently returned from the club's World Club Challenge trip to the UK where the Roosters were successful against Super League champs Wigan, a side coincidentally coached by Lam's father and Roosters legend Adrian.

It would have been a lovely piece of symmetry if Lachlan had been able to make his senior squad debut against his father – especially given he played his first couple of years of junior footy in Wigan's St Pats nursery when his dad was an overseas player at the club in the early 2000s.

Instead, Lam had to wait just a few short weeks, playing a strong hand in a largely reserve grade line-up's eventual 38-20 trial loss to Manly in Gosford on Saturday.

"Lining up against Dad would have been pretty cool, seeing as I played my first footy over there!" Lam laughed when quizzed on the trip by NRL.com.

"I don't see him much, he came over for Christmas and I hadn't seen him since then. We had one day off when we got there so I got to spend the day with him and some old family friends, then we went and saw my old house and my old school, my old home footy ground.

Roosters great Adrian Lam and son Lachlan.
Roosters great Adrian Lam and son Lachlan. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

"It was pretty surreal to go over and see all that and I remember it the same way it still looks today which was cool."

Lam lived in the northern English town from the ages of two to eight before returning to Sydney and growing up in Roosters heartland in the eastern suburbs.

"My first rugby league game was there for St Pats which is a massive established Wigan junior rugby league team," he said.

"I played two or three seasons there before we came back here which is why I was a bit emotional to go back there and maybe make my top grade debut at a place where I first started playing rugby league against a team coached by my dad."

Lam made headlines as a 15-year-old back in 2014 when he represented the Maroons in under-16s Origin as the first player to represent either state under the new father-son rule. He said that growing up in a Maroon household (mother Anita also represented Queensland in several sports) made it an easy choice.

"I think I was the first one to sort of represent through that rule; they brought it in the year before I played which I was pretty happy about," he said.

"My mum is born and bred Queensland as well, she represented through touch footy, basketball and netball. Being brought up in a Queensland household, playing for NSW probably wouldn't have gone down too well! But I knew no different, I've always been a Queenslander."

While any potential senior Origin representation is still a long way off, following in his father's footsteps with an NRL debut could well happen in 2019 and it is certainly a goal for the budding five-eighth.

Roosters halfback Lachlan Lam playing for the Kumuls against Fiji.
Roosters halfback Lachlan Lam playing for the Kumuls against Fiji. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

"It's something I always wanted to do and I'm putting myself in a position to do," he said.

"It's obviously a massive goal of mine (to play for the Roosters), I've been here since I was eight years old playing in junior grades at the Roosters, junior development at the Roosters then Harold Matts, SG Ball and 20s, the next thing is NRL.

"Hopefully I can get that opportunity but I'm just working hard to try and keep that legacy going but it's also something I want to do regardless of legacy. Had he not have played, I was still a fan of the Roosters and now I'm in the Roosters squad."

Lam has had a stunning roster of mentors in his young career already and the Roosters' premiership-winning halves are just the latest additions set to stand him in good stead when his seemingly inevitable debut does roll around.

"Throughout the pre-season Cooper [Cronk] and [Luke] Keary have both taught me a lot," Lam said.

"They go out of the way to teach me which is a massive bonus.

"I've been really lucky at the Roosters with some of the people that I've had to learn off. First my Dad, who played 14 Origins and international footy. I've been lucky to have Joey Johns there who helped me for two or three years as well (as Roosters halves coach), Mitch Pearce when I first came into the system was there and now Cooper, there's four pretty good players!"

Lam was just five when Cronk debuted for Melbourne in 2004 so has been watching the Maroons and Kangaroos star his whole life.

"Coops, it's a bit weird because you watching him growing up then you're in the same squad as him with the potential to play with him, it's all pretty surreal but it's also normal for me now.

"The way he teaches and the aura he has makes it so easy to learn. I remember watching him in Origin games, I remember his field goal sitting there as a young kid watching State of Origin, to be in the same squad as him is pretty crazy."