The 18th Man...Fans delighted at Bevan French's decision to stay with Wigan

Wigan fans react to Bevan French staying on for another year, Dom Manfredi's decision to retire and England's game with the All Stars team.

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 8:40 am
Updated Thursday, 1st July 2021, 8:42 am
Bevan French
Bevan French

How pleased are you Bevan French is staying on for next year?

Jon Lyon: I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting it. I would have put good money on Bevan being picked up by an NRL club.

Like so many others, Bevan has been dreadfully unlucky with injury this season. Hopefully he will be back to full fitness next year and ready to go when the season kicks off.

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We all know how devastating he can be in attack so to be able to watch him for another year is great news.

There seems to be a lot of changes ahead of next season so to keep such a talent at the club is a relief when the likes of Gildart and Hastings will be moving on.

Ste Ford: I’m really pleased. We have a massive turnover of players next year so retain a key player in the midst of major changes is a big plus.

It will be interesting to see how French and Field will link.

I am assuming that Field will get the number six shirt next season.

Darren Wrudd: I am simply thrilled that Bevan has decided to take up his extra year on his contract and to have him so committed to achieving his goals here is a boon for 2022.

We have seen glimpses of what he can do as a player and to retain that in the squad will add some serious sparkle to next year’s games. He reminds me of Amos Roberts in the class he adds to the side so with our current crop of youngsters one year older the future is looking bright.

I just hope his rehab goes well and he can join us for a proper pre season before next year begins.

What was your reaction when Dom Manfredi revealed he will retire at the end of this season?

Jon Lyon: It’s tremendously sad news for Dom. He has been desperately unlucky with injuries for many years but his future health and quality of life must come first so it is no doubt the right decision.

I can’t for a second comprehend not just the physical toll of three serious knee injuries but the mental strength Dom must have to have gone through the nine months of rehab each time.

It is a huge credit to him that he forced himself to battle back to fitness time and again.

It’s easy to feel sorry for Dom but let’s not forget he has also achieved what most of us could only dream of.

I hope Dom knows how much we as fans have loved watching him play and the memories he and we will treasure for years to come.

Amongst many others, the 2018 Grand Final will be remembered as a wonderful crowning achievement to yet another comeback from Dom, I hope he is rightly proud.

I wish him health and happiness in his retirement, he deserves both in spades.

Ste Ford: A touch of sadness in that the lad never really got to fulfil his full potential. When he first came on the scene he was almost an instant hit. Strong, brave and a great finisher.

It sounds like he has made the right decision and I wish him well in the future.

Darren Wrudd: I suppose it was a feeling of gratitude tinged with sadness to hear that Dom has decided he cannot continue beyond this season.

It is always sad when a young player has to end his playing career before his time and I feel still for lads like Darrel Goulding whom, just like Dom has so much more in him.

But the gratitude does not just refer to his efforts, although the strength of character he has shown in battling through his injuries the way he has are a real testimony to the lads spirit,

but I am most grateful for having had the chance to watch him fly for us at his very best.

I feel there is yet more to be written in his career highlights and am looking forward to letting him know just how high he is held in our regard as supporters of this great club.

Was there anything about the England-All Stars game which surprised you?

Jon Lyon: Bateman’s injury certainly wasn’t a surprise, just what we didn’t need. While Saints players were withdrawing left, right and centre it seemed inevitable we would suffer somehow.

It’s hard to read too much into the game with both sides cobbled together and England likely to look vastly different at the World Cup.

I think the biggest surprise of the whole game was how slow Jake Connor looked as the outstanding Liam Farrell strolled past him with ease to score a wonderful solo try. I’ve seen Tony Clubb move twice as fast!

It’s about time Faz got the recognition at international level his club form deserves. It’s hard to knock Wayne Bennett as a coach, but his non-selection of Farrell has been baffling over the last four years.

It was also good to see Tom Davies get a call up and score. Whether he will keep the shirt ahead of Johnstone, Makinson, Grace and McGillvary remains to be seen, but he did his chances no harm. With Dom retiring it would be great to see Davies back in a Wigan shirt next year.

Ste Ford: I was surprised how serious the All Stars took the game.

I enjoyed it and personally I’d like to see it repeated on an annual basis over a free weekend.

Darren Wrudd: I think beyond anything else I was a little surprised about how well the All Stars gelled as a squad.

I found myself thinking that they should do being professionals and such, but how many disjointed and dead end plays did England get through looking altogether like a group of players from different teams, stuffed together to do a job?

This may have been Tim Sheen’s influence, but I think its more likely the freedom they were given to play ball.

Just go out and do what you do best, in your position that you play each week in Super League and see what happens.

With little or no pressure on them it showed and we can learn a lesson from that if nothing else comes from it.