Why Jai Field will bring 'X factor' to Wigan Warriors
Jai Field has been tipped to be one of Super League's fastest players in 2021 after his move to Wigan was confirmed.
The jet-heeled Aussie has signed a two-year deal.
And current coach Adrian Lam, hoping to stay on next season, said: "I see him as another version of Bevan French – he’s got great footwork and pace and he will add to our attacking flair. He could possibly be the quickest player in Super League next year.
"Jai is a player I’ve watched since he was 15-years-old. He’s a very smart rugby league player and another X factor addition to our squad in 2021. His skill levels are as good as any in the NRL."
The capture of the 23-year-old won't come as a surprise to many fans - he has been strongly linked with a move for several weeks, and last month confirmed he would be heading to the Warriors.
He can play full-back or halfback and given No.1 Bevan French has extended his stay, his signing will put the futures of Jackson Hastings and Thomas Leuluai under sharper focus.
Both incumbent halfbacks are out of contract at the end of this season and have spoken to Wigan about staying on. The Warriors also have promising youngster Harry Smith in the squad.
Field, born in Wollongong, New South Wales, has made 17 appearances in the NRL for St George Illawarra and Parramatta.
"I am really excited to be joining Wigan," he said. "I feel proud to have been given the opportunity to play for such a big club with huge history.
“I have been watching the team from afar in Australia and I am really enjoying it - seeing them play some fantastic rugby. I can’t wait to be a part of it next year and beyond.
“It was great to see the club win the League Leaders’ Shield on Friday too. I was buzzing for Bevan French, who I’m already mates with.
"I am looking forward to the challenge and I am confident that I can contribute to gain more success for the club."
The signing of Field follows the capture of John Bateman on a marquee contract for next year, while prop Brad Singleton arrived last month.
Warriors executive director Kris Radlinski said: “We are delighted to welcome Jai Field to the Club. He will bring additional excitement to a backline that is already packed full of skill and speed.
“He is very similar to Bevan French with his footwork and has the acceleration that is required to break down defences. We will encourage him to express himself on the Rugby league field and have some fun out there.
“He will link up with his teammates in early January once the start of the 2021 Super League season is confirmed.”
Hastings, meanwhile, flatly denied rumours linking him with Canterbury Bulldogs.