Adrian Lam was left stunned after Wigan Warriors’ reign as Super League champions came to an end at the hands of Salford Red Devils.
The Warriors went into Friday’s home semi-final still with high hopes of retaining the Super League title for the first time, despite the 40-10 defeat to St Helens the previous week.
But another slow start proved costly as Salford pressed home their advantage to triumph 28-4 at the DW Stadium, with Lam left to rue that tardy opening to a match which gradually spiralled out of his side’s control.
“I’m shell-shocked really,” Wigan head coach Lam said. “I can’t believe we delivered that in the first 20 minutes, like we did last week.
“The last four weeks have been the same with the starts and I can’t put my finger on it to be honest.
“Everything we seemed to do went from bad to worse, nothing worked. It just wasn’t us.”
A late try from Bevan French prevented the Warriors from being nilled, but it was of little consolation to either Lam or any of the players.
It was a disappointing way for England stand-off George Williams to end his Wigan career too as he leaves his hometown club to join NRL Grand Finalists Canberra Raiders next year.
By contrast, the win means Jackson Hastings and Jake Bibby will get to play their final games for Salford at Old Trafford in the Grand Final before joining Wigan next season.