Every word Wigan Warriors boss Matt Peet said following 2024 Challenge Cup triumph

Ben Olawumi
Matt Peet

Wigan Warriors head coach Matt Peet holds the Challenge Cup following their 2024 triumph in the final at Wembley against Warrington Wolves

Wigan Warriors lifted the Challenge Cup for a record-extending 21st time with victory in the competition’s 2024 final against Warrington Wolves on Saturday afternoon.

The Cherry & Whites secured a second cup triumph in three years under the tutelage of head coach Matt Peet courtesy of an 18-8 win under the arch.

Bevan French – who was on the scoresheet – played a starring role in the capital and won the Lance Todd Trophy for his man of the match showing, with young gun Zach Eckersley & veteran skipper Liam Farrell also crossing for tries.

Having initially gone 2-0 up via a Josh Thewlis penalty, Warrington’s only response came late on as Australian full-back Matt Dufty went over for a consolation try.

Here’s every word Warriors boss Peet had to say in his post-match press conference at Wembley…

On whether it was the perfect game & perfect day…

It’s what we got, so I’ll take it! I’m proud of the players.

It was never going to be the perfect game and we speak a lot about not chasing perfection, but instead trusting one another.

Obviously there was ebbs and flows in the game, events, certainly at the start, but I feel a real strength of this group is their ability to deal with whatever comes their way.

When you watch them play, there’s times in the game where things go against them, but they seem to rise to it. They almost seem to enjoy it, and I credit that to the connection of the group.

It’s about the players that didn’t play today, the coaching staff, and the whole club. When I say that, I mean the supporters, our staff at Robin Park – the lads enjoy the responsibility of playing for that group of people and their own families are included in that.

I wouldn’t change a moment of it, because it’s what happened.

On being in control throughout…

I felt we were in control. To be honest, through the week, I just thought that it was going to take a good team to beat this group.

On this being the best trophy of his tenure to date…

This is the best one. I don’t want to go into it (reasons why), but this is the best one.

I just felt the momentum of things were shaping up that it was gong to be a difficult game. Warrington have a lot of momentum behind them after last week etc., and there’s a lot going on around the game, so I was just proud that the players committed to one another in the way that they did.

On an emotional occasion as the rugby league world paid tribute to Rob Burrow…

That was special in its own right, it would have been whichever team would have won.

I think it’s an emotional week for everyone in rugby league. Rob was such a special character, and it stirs up emotions for everyone.

Rob, his team and his family and what they’ve been through, I know that Bevan won’t mind me saying that it stirs up emotions for him (having lost his mum to MND).

We all love Rob, the Burrows, that group and what they stand for, but we’ve got to be honest and say that it makes you think about your own life and the people you love as well.

On Wigan’s motivation…

When I talk about our motivation, it was more around a carrot of achieving something that wasn’t unprecedented, but was particularly special.

We wanted to come and put a fourth trophy in the cabinet, but motivation also came from that momentum around Warrington.

On the influence of the squad’s non-playing members at Wembley…

I must say that a few of the players who have not played today have still had a massive part.

Adam Keighran has looked after Zach Eckersley, Tyler Dupree has put his own things to one side – we understand that mistakes were made there.

Harvie Hill, who was unlucky to miss out.

But most importantly, Willie Isa did our shirt presentation last night. You’ll see all the players were holding flags of nations representing their heritage, some have got more than one.

He delivered a team meeting about that and about what these lads represent in playing for Wigan, and it was very, very special.

I’m sure it drove the lads to digging as deep as they did, and I think what Willie did there for any player at any club as a leader and as a senior player, it was unbelievable.

On those flags…

Where it creates something special is that I didn’t know a lot about Aboriginal culture, I didn’t know a lot about Cameroon, about Swaziland, and I could go around the whole team.

When you see 20 flags laid down, it makes you want that player to do well when you understand them a bit more, and I’m sure all the players were the same.

It’s amazing when you get a group of men working together coming from all different avenues in life. We’ve got quite a diverse team and it’s something that we celebrate.

On captain Liam Farrell…

I think Faz’s career now can probably be shed a bit of light on. Sometimes, he can go a bit unnoticed but he’s got five (Super League winners’) rings and he’s won two World Club Challenges.

I feel like there’s some very good back-rowers that have been in Super League across the last 10/20 years, but if you look at how they play in the big games, I think Faz takes some beating.

I wouldn’t swap him for anyone.

On having fun as a group on and off the field…

We had our last training session the other day (ahead of the final). Kris Radlinski was knocking around, he saw a bit of it and said, ‘it’s a flipping social club this!’

I said, ‘I know, it’s perfect!’

You would not believe how much fun we have together, and I don’t mean just on nights like tonight because we get to celebrate.

This morning, our training sessions, our training days… we’ve got a lot of characters in the group and a lot of characters on the staff. It’s just a brilliant place to work.

On using the squad having a target on their back as fuel…

I’ve tried that in the past with this group and it doesn’t work. This group are at their best when they’re playing for one another.

We might think it sometimes as staff, I might think it, and there’s some of us who see that and it might rile us up a little bit.

But when I see this team play, it’s like, ‘how good’s this?!’

They come in excited about winning, less about the opposition and more about them.

How much fun can we have? How much connection can we build?

I understand why you would ask it, but for this group of players, I think they’re motivated by what they can achieve and what memories they can make with each other.

On trusting youth on the big stage…

Hand on heart, I was very, very confident (that the young lads would perform).

More importantly, the players that were around them were unbelievably confident in them because they train with each other every day and they’ve known each other for a long time.

Zach’s been in our system and Junior has since they were 13/14, so (youngsters like him) have come from a good school where standards are high and they work with all the same staff.

John Duffy, for example, is with us on gameday.

Our lads go watching the academy train, they go watching the reserves train, we train a lot with those players and it’s very connected.

Quite a bit was made last week about young players playing, but it’s about when you get those young players playing in the big games, that’s the difference.

They’re playing well and winning things.

You’re always a bit nervous for them. Zach dropped that ball early on and I was a bit nervous for him, but it’s part of the story.

What I do know is that when he drops that ball, the 12 blokes on the field, they (Warrington) weren’t scoring that set because the other 12 blokes have got his (Eckersley’s) back.

I’m very confident, it comes from the system and knowing those lads personally, but also the players around them having their backs.