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Giving Super League a French kiss

18 Nov 20, 7:40AM 0 Comments

Written by John Davidson

Super League’s 2020 Man of Steel will be announced next week and Wigan star Bevan French may miss out.

When the last leaderboard was released a month ago French was ranked only tenth on the list. At number one was Huddersfield’s Aidan Sezer, followed by Castleford’s Paul McShane, St Helens’ Lachlan Coote, Wigan teammate Liam Farrell and St Helens’ Alex Walmsley.

But the competition statistics tell a different tale.

French is equal second in Super League for tries scored with 12, the same as Catalans’ Tom Davies, with only Leeds winger Ash Handley ahead with 14.

The fullback leads the comp in tackle busts with a whopping 101, 23 more than Walmsley in second place. He is also ranked fifth in metres and has notched seven try assists in 17 games.

There’s no denying the Aussie is an excitement machine. Perhaps the most devastating attacking player in Super League right now.

With his speed, his step and his dummy, his ability to turn on a dime and leave opponents flat-footed is unparalleled on these shores.

It might not be enough for him to win the Man of Steel award tho.

But top award or not, French has been a revelation at Wigan and keeping him at the club for another season is a massive coup.

In the NRL at Parramatta the flyer was in and out of the team. But at the Warriors Adrian Lam has put faith in the New South Welshman and it has paid off and then some.

“I think I’m a more confident player now,” French said.

“In Australia I didn’t lack the skill, it was just the confidence. Here they’re trying to get my hands on the ball in every set of six.”

When he arrived in Super League last year the 24-year-old wanted to prove the critics, and his old club the Eels, wrong. But now he is focused on more than just that.

“That was my motivation at the start – I really wanted to prove a point to show what I’ve got,” he admitted.

“But that’s changed now. I just want to be the best I can be.”

French has already picked up one piece of silverware in the League Leader’s Shield. At the moment he sits one more win away from a grand final, with a date with Hull FC on Thursday awaiting.

Wigan has had some great Indigenous players over the years – John Ferguson, Steve Renouf, Matty Bowen, Amos Roberts.

If French can help the club get to the decider, and win it in Hull on November 27, then he will join those illustrious ranks.

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