IMG must get eyes on Rugby League’s stars says Wigan Warriors boss Matt Peet

WIGAN WARRIORS head coach Matt Peet has called on IMG to help put more eyes on the game’s star players like Bevan French and Jai Field.

The speedy Australian backs lit up Super League last season, scoring a combined 51 tries as well as notching 40 assists between them – many for each other – and helped Wigan win the Challenge Cup.

When French signed a new contract, much to the Warriors’ relief, towards the end of last term, their executive director Kris Radlinski vowed to make him “a household name in British sport”.

And coach Peet hopes that IMG’s involvement in the sport will help make that a reality for French and Super League’s other top talents.

“Hopefully the RFL and IMG can take these players, like Bevan and Jai, like Jack Welsby and Harry Newman and Jake Connor, and get them on the big stage,” he said.

“That’s what we all want and that’s what the World Cup was great for, seeing the players on terrestrial TV. Channel 4 (televising Super League) have been great for the sport as well. 

“We have to make sure as a club, as a team and as a coach, our product is worth watching, and then the media and IMG have to make sure there are more eyes on it.”

The need to make the domestic game bigger has been underlined by NRL interest in some of Wigan’s top talents.

John Bateman continues to be linked with a return to Australia with Wests Tigers, while Kai Pearce-Paul’s switch to Newcastle Knights was confirmed last week.

The 21-year-old, alongside Huddersfield Giants’ Will Pryce, will join the Knights from the 2024 season.

“We are all disappointed to lose Kai,” said Wigan executive director Kris Radlinski.

“Having paid a transfer fee to London Broncos three years ago, our coaches have developed a very raw talent into an international Rugby League player. 

“We presented Kai with a very attractive and long-term contract. But ultimately, Kai’s desire to go to the NRL was the determining factor.

“He is an impressive young man who has been a pleasure to work with over the past few years. 

“We expect a big year from Kai and then we will wish him well on his new adventure.”