Bevan French reveals the moment he knew he didn’t need to leave Wigan Warriors and his future goals

BEVAN FRENCH says World Club Challenge Cup glory helped convince him he didn’t need to return to the NRL to prove himself.

The 28-year-old last week signed a new four-year contract which will keep him at Wigan until the end of 2028.

French, who was set to be off-contract at the end of this year until re-committing, admitted there was interest from the NRL – inevitably so considering he is the reigning Man of Steel and has won five trophies with the Warriors.

The Aussie was initially a sensation when he broke through at Parramatta, scoring 19 tries in his debut NRL season in 2016 and a further nine in an injury-hit second campaign.

But he struggled to earn a place in the side thereafter and was playing for an Eels feeder club, Wentworthville Magpies, in the NSW Cup when Wigan came calling in mid-2019.

French admits to having had a nagging desire to return home, but says his performance in helping Wigan beat Penrith in February’s World Club Challenge put that to bed.

“I always said I wanted to test myself. I thought I had unfinished business,” said French.

“I put my best foot forward there and had a good game. That was what I set out to do, to see if I could prove myself and I think I did. That closed the chapter on that.

“It’s a weird one. It’s not like I thought about that leading up to the game or anything, it was just after it. 

“It’s not something that clicked in my head, but a lot of friends and family said ‘you proved yourself, you could do it’. It was probably my friends and family who let me know that.”

French has won every available trophy with Wigan, claiming a Challenge Cup (2022) and Super League (2023) title plus two League Leaders’ Shields (2020 and 2023) alongside world glory earlier this year.

On an individual level, he won the Man of Steel award last season for his performances, as well as earning a third Dream Team selection of a Super League spell which is closing in on five years.

But that didn’t mean French had nothing left to achieve with Wigan, with two simple future goals: “Trying to win silverware, and building great relationships.”

He added: “It’s just racking those up, and building great relationships with everyone in the team and the staff. Everyone is pretty tight around the club, whether it’s players or staff.”

French has particular praise for coach Matt Peet who, along with assistants Sean O’Loughlin and Thomas Leuluai, recently signed a new seven-year contract with Wigan.

It’s a clear future focus from the Warriors, who have the rest of their spine tied down long-term (Jai Field, Harry Smith and Brad O’Neill are all contracted until 2027).

French credits Peet with helping him grow as a person as much as in Rugby League, with a people-first approach he had never seen before.

“I came through the Parra system and it’s hard and tough. It’s always been hard work, hard work,” he said.

“Having a coach with this side, it just frees you up a little. You’re able to express yourself. I haven’t had a coach like Matty before.

“He’s very diverse in his coaching methods and his style; he’s more interested in your personal growth. 

“I think he understands the importance it has on your performance on the field. When things aren’t really going how you want away from the field, that certainly has an effect on how you play.

“I’ve changed bad habits as a person, and I think that’s just being around these people, the quality of people they are. 

“Rugby League is our job, it’s our profession, it’s what we should put first, but I think being the best player you can be is surrounding yourself with a good bunch of people and becoming a good person away from the sport. 

“I’ve enjoyed my growth as a person here more than anything. I’ve always said that you’re just who you are when you’re surrounded by a great bunch of blokes.”