Zach Eckersley on the advice 'outstanding' Bevan French gave to him ahead of Wembley chance

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Zach Eckersley made a memory of a lifetime as the rising star helped Wigan Warriors lift the 2024 Challenge Cup trophy.

Saturday’s Wembley appearance marked only his fifth senior for the Cherry and Whites – and his first in the prestigious competition.

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Why Wigan Warriors coach had zero doubt in handing Zach Eckersley his Wembley sh...

The youngster replaced the suspended Adam Keighran for the showdown in the capital and repaid the faith shown in him by scoring the opening try as Wigan went on 18-8 winners over Warrington Wolves.

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Bevan French assisted Zach Eckersley before crossing the whitewash himself at WembleyBevan French assisted Zach Eckersley before crossing the whitewash himself at Wembley
Bevan French assisted Zach Eckersley before crossing the whitewash himself at Wembley

Although predominantly a left centre, Eckersley admits he’d play ‘wherever Matt Peet asks me to’ as he featured on the right edge alongside Abbas Miski, Bevan French and Junior Nsemba against Sam Burgess’ outfit.

Australian stand-off French won the Lance Todd Trophy by a landslide, receiving 25 votes by the assembled media at the national stadium.

And Eckersley admitted he was grateful for the advice from the reigning Man of Steel, with the pair having combined for the game’s first four-pointer.

“Bevan told me to just take the game as it comes and to get in the game early,” Eckersley said.

“Like everyone says, just enjoy it.

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“I think you play at your best when you enjoy it, so that’s the best advice you could give anyone, I suppose.”

The sound advice continued throughout the 80 minute encounter, as Eckersley, who had never been to Wembley before the Cup final, continued: “Bevan is an outstanding player, one of the best players in the world.

“He talked to me all the time throughout the game and I gave him chat back.

“Junior Nsemba is a great player, and Abbas Miski as well. They all really supported me through the game, and we were playing for each other.”

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Among the official crowd of 64,845, Eckersley was watched on by 17 of his family members, and shared his appreciation for the sacrifices that have been made on his rugby league journey.

“Family is massive to me, they did everything for me growing up,” he said.

“My grandma and grandad took me to training. I'm from Oldham, so it’s a long drive.

“They’ve sacrificed a lot for me, so it was nice to have them here and share the moment with them.”

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