Super League 2023 Season Review: Wigan Warriors

Super League: 1st (P27 W20 L7 F722 A360 PD+362 Pts40); Play-offs: Winners; Challenge Cup: Semi-finals


After a Challenge Cup triumph and a second-placed Super League finish in his first season as head coach, Matt Peet and Wigan looked primed for another assault on the major honours.


In two years, Peet has completed the full set, after claiming the League Leaders’ Shield on their way to Grand Final glory.

If topping the table was a close-run thing, finishing ahead of both Catalans and St Helens on points difference alone, Wigan’s play-off success was anything but.

The Warriors’ attack obliterated a resurgent Hull KR in the semi-finals before their defence came to the fore to shut out Catalans in the Grand Final.

They finished the season on a ten-match winning run, a sequence which also included thrashings of Leigh, Catalans, Leeds and Castleford, and it is hard to argue Wigan as anything other than deserving champions.

They were certainly the most complete team in the competition, with a forward pack that has come of age and a backline full of pace and skill.

Bevan French was magnificent at stand-off, working alongside the ever-dangerous Jai Field and chief organiser Harry Smith in the spine.

Stumbles were infrequent – opening with a loss at Hull KR, losing four league games in five in May and early June, including a horrendous collapse to Leeds, and inexplicably falling at Wakefield in golden-point.

Their defence of the Challenge Cup also ended in extra-time, losing to Hull KR in the semi-finals at Headingley after a Joe Shorrocks red card.

But from that day forward, Wigan were flawless, a glorious run of ten straight victories finishing with the Super League trophy as the Ian Lenagan era finished on a wonderful high.


Bevan French won the Man of Steel award to round off a superb individual season, and one that started out on the wing before an injury reshuffle saw him moved to stand-off.

There he truly thrived, ending the year with a record of 17 tries, 30 assists and 126 tackle busts.

French’s place out wide was taken up by Abbas Miski, and the Lebanon winger made it his own.

A Super League stat-topping 28 tries in 26 games was exceptional, but so too the average of over eight metres per carry off the wing.

Lifting the trophy at Old Trafford was Liam Farrell, a player who fully embodies this club.

His effort, including 774 tackles and 2679 metres, was exemplary and the backrower fully deserved a fifth consecutive Dream Team appearance, which was a testament to his consistency.


“It’s funny how it all pans out, isn’t it?… Covering three positions throughout the year definitely wasn’t part of the plan. It’s crazy. It started off as injuries as well, that’s the reason for (moving to that) position. The second part is everyone started killing it in those positions. Abbas came in and made the most of it. Jai came back at fullback. It shows the calibre of players we have at Wigan. It’s a special group we have at the moment.” Bevan French on his move to stand-off after scooping the Man of Steel award.

“He is a leader who leads by example. He leads from the top and everyone follows him. He makes tough calls when it’s needed. He puts the game plan in place, with all the small things and the detail. That’s the reason why we are where we are. It’s why we won the Challenge Cup last year, the League Leaders’ Shield this year and now the Grand Final. He is a leader in every sense.” Liam Farrell lauds head coach Matt Peet after Wigan’s Grand Final win.

“I’d like to thank all the Wigan Warriors supporters for their unerring support during my time as owner and chairman. Perhaps that has given me the proudest feelings of all. It is something that the nine-year-old boy who ended up living his own Wigan Rugby League dream will be grateful for always.” Ian Lenagan announcing his intention stand down as chairman after 16 years.


1 – Wigan became the first club to not concede a try in a Super League Grand Final, holding Catalans at bay.

9 – wins out of nine for Tyler Dupree since joining Wigan from Salford in July.

52 – missed goals by Harry Smith, with no other Super League player missing more than 21 attempts – yet he struck ten from ten in the play-offs.


Wigan’s season had its deserved conclusion as the league leaders triumphed at Old Trafford.

It was the ultimate example of Grand Final rugby, with defences on top – and the Warriors’ especially, holding out sensationally a number of times when under severe pressure from Catalans.

Ultimately one try won it, with a finish early in the second half from Liam Marshall – their Challenge Cup hero a year earlier – securing Wigan’s record-extending 23rd championship.


The Warriors certainly didn’t look like a champion team when they were stunned by twelve-man Leeds at the DW Stadium in May.

They led 14-6, thanks to tries by Abbas Miski and Bevan French, when Zane Tetevano was dismissed for the Rhinos on the stroke of half-time, yet somehow conceded six second-half tries to be thrashed 40-18.

That was part of a sequence of four defeats in five when questions were beginning to be asked of coach Matt Peet – questions that in time would be decisively answered.


Liam Marshall crosses for the Grand Final-winning try (above).