Bevan French snubs NRL return with four-year Wigan deal

Bevan French has turned his back on the chance to return to the NRL, with Wigan's much-wanted Australian star signing a fresh deal with the world club champions.

The 28-year-old former Parramatta flyer has become the best player in the European game, with his brilliance evidenced most recently with his man-of-the-match performance for the Warriors against Penrith in the World Club Challenge.

That display, which featured a spectacular second-half score which was ruled out for a narrow offside, again put French's excellence in the spotlight, with a number of NRL clubs already having been keen to bring back Tingha's Indigenous star to Australia. 

But Wigan announced on Wednesday that stand-off French had penned a new four -year deal with the club which will take him though to the end of 2028.

The British giants have been left delighted, believing it may well mean French stays with the club for the rest of his career. 

Bevan joined the Warriors halfway through the 2019 season from Parramatta Eels and he's been a hit ever since with fans of Britain's most famous club, illuminating the Super League with his scintillating performances which last year won him the Man of Steel award as its best player. 

But having often said he would one day want to return to Australia to try his luck at conquering the NRL, it was somewhat of a surprise that he should sign a deal that will take him through to his early thirties in the Super League.

"Over my past couple of contracts, I've become close (to returning to Australia) with negotiations with other clubs back in the NRL," French told Sky Sports.

"But I think when we spoke about extending this time, I really gave Wigan the option to see if we can come to an agreement before I even look elsewhere. 

"I've built a lot of good relationships on and off the field and just evolved each year. I never feel like I'm stuck in the same place, I keep feeling like I'm improving every time I go out each week."

French, who broke the record for the most tries scored - seven - in a Super League fixture in 2022, inspired them to a grand final triumph last year before toppling Penrith in February.

“It wasn’t a hard decision to make, I’ve built up lots of good relationships here, on and off the field," he said.

Wigan officials were delighted at their coup, with chief executive Kris Radlinski saying: “We have worked patiently with Bevan to get a deal that pretty much secures the rest of his career at Wigan.

“We get the privilege of watching one of the most talented players of his generation entertain us for four more years.“

Coach Matt Peet added: “He is a leader here both on and off the field and is hungry to improve.

“Bevan is a special player and a special person - it is an honour to coach him.”

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