Bevan French explains why he chose new Wigan Warriors deal over NRL interest

Aaron Bower
Bevan French

Wigan Warriors star Bevan French celebrates his spectacular try (later ruled out) in the World Club Challenge against Penrith Panthers - Alamy

Wigan Warriors star Bevan French admits the opportunity to be spoken of in the same breath as club legends such as Tommy Leuluai and Sean O’Loughlin was one of the main reasons he has signed a new four-year deal – before revealing he gave the club the option to table their best bid before he even considered interest from the NRL.

The reigning Super League Man of Steel will be a Warriors player until at least the end of 2028, after signing a new four-year contract at the DW Stadium.

French was the subject of interest from numerous NRL clubs and was largely expected to return to Australia at the end of this season. However, Wigan have seen off that interest to tie down another major star for the next few years.

And French admitted he wanted to let Wigan put forward a contract offer to him before he even mooted a move back to the NRL – and the chance to emulate some of the club’s modern-day greats convinced him to stay.

“I gave Wigan the first opportunity to meet the things (I wanted) rather than go explore elsewhere and in Australia because it’s a place I want to be,” French told Sky Sports.

“I want to become someone.. you speak of Matt Peet but Tommy (Leuluai) and Sean O’Loughlin, you hang around success and great people and hopefully you can become the same thing one day.

“Ever since I’ve got here I’ve enjoyed it, and I’ve learned so much as a player and evolved. Those things you’ve mentioned, the trophies we’ve won as a team it’s become infectious and I want to continue to do that with the group of players we have now. That feeling has become infectious and it’s made me want to stay and continue to do those things.”

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French has made no secret of his desire to test himself in Australia at some stage in his career once again – but he will be 32 by the time his new Wigan deal ends, and he admits he simply had no reason to walk away from the Warriors.

He said: “It’s been no secret it was one of my main desires (returning to the NRL) when I got here quite a while ago now. I’ve had some things to prove to myself more than anything, that I’d still be able to do it, and over my past couple of contracts I’ve been close with negotiations with over clubs in the NRL.

“When we spoke about extending this time, I gave Wigan the option to see if we could come to an agreement before I looked anywhere else, to be honest.

“I never feel like I’m stuck in the same place. It’s a good feeling to have and I just want to pay Wigan back for all the faith they’ve put in me and the community too.”

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