Wigan Warriors' Bevan French fancies Old Trafford tilt... weeks after playing in front of 200 fans
The Australian has made an exciting start to his Wigan career.
Coach Adrian Lam has tipped him to give their side an ‘X-Factor’ in their pursuit of a Grand Final spot.
They will secure second spot with victory against Castleford tonight and many are predicting they will go all the way to the Super League title decider on October 12.
Not only would that mark a remarkable turnaround for Wigan, but a staggering change of circumstances for French who a few weeks ago was playing in Parramatta’s reserves – sometimes in front of tiny crowds.
“If you were playing at the stadium before first-grade then the crowds would be good, but some weekends you’d be on a park and there’d be 200 people there,” said French.
“That’s a challenge in itself - sometimes players can rely on atmosphere to bring energy, and it was a good test for me going from playing in front of NRL crowds to not so many people.
“You have to find something inside yourself to bring energy out. Going from that to playing at Old Trafford would be insane.
“Playing in front of not really anyone has helped me, because I found a way to get motivated for the game.
“And I got to captain the side which was a new experience for me, there was a little bit more expectation.
“Although I wouldn’t want to be in reserve grade I wanted to take some positives out of it.
“To end up playing in a Grand Final after that would be some feeling.”
French exhibited his brilliant footwork last week as he scored a hat-trick in a 46-12 win against Catalans and, with Liam Marshall still out, is set to continue in the right wing role.
“It looked like Bevan was on skates and they were all falling over around him,” said Adrian Lam.
“I just looked at the assistant coach and were both like ‘wow’.
“He can be an X-Factor for us without a doubt. Anybody that watched him the other night would get goosebumps watching him play.
“Hopefully he’ll put bums on seats next year. I think he’ll be an absolute sensation for Super League, just with the pure speed he’s got.”
Sean O’Loughlin and Ben Flower could return from injury lay-offs but Liam Farrell misses out through suspension. Kick-off is 7.45pm and the game is live on Sky.