Rugby League

Challenge Cup Final

9 Jun 2024

Bevan French awarded 2024 Lance Todd Trophy

Bevan French awarded 2024 Lance Todd Trophy

French became the third consecutive Australian winner of the award in Wigan's victory over Warrington

Bevan French joined an elite group as a landslide winner of the Lance Todd Trophy in Wigan’s Wembley win against Warrington on Saturday.

French became the third consecutive Australian winner of the award, following Leigh’s Lachlan Lam last year and Huddersfield’s Chris McQueen at Tottenham in 2022 – when French was a member of the winning Wigan team.

He therefore followed in the footsteps of other famous overseas winners such as Brett Kenny for Wigan in 1985, Graham Eadie for Halifax in 1987, Dean Bell for Wigan in 1993, and Robbie and Henry Paul for Bradford in 1996 and 2000.

In addition, in adding the Lance Todd Trophy to the Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel he earned for his Betfred Super League performances in the 2023 season, the 28-year-old joined some more illustrious names in having won both those major awards.

Daryl Clark, currently the St Helens hooker, was the last, although he won the Lance Todd Trophy with Warrington for his performance against St Helens in the 2019 Final, and was named Man of Steel with his first club, Castleford Tigers, in 2014.

Paul Wellens, Clark’s current Saints coach, won the awards in consecutive seasons, winning the Man of Steel in 2006 before sharing the Lance Todd with Leon Pryce in 2007.

Sean Long added three Lance Todd awards, in 2001, 2004 and 2006, to the Man of Steel recognition he had received in 2000.

So French is only the fourth player in the Super League era to double up – with the feat having been equally rare in the preceding years, although it was achieved by Martin Offiah MBE, Saturday’s Chief Guest, a Lance Todd Trophy winner in 1994, six years after he had been named Man of Steel in his stunning second season with Widnes.

The Lance Todd Trophy winner is decided by members of the Rugby League Writers and Broadcasters Assocation, and other journalists present at Wembley – and was first awarded to Billy Stott of Wakefield Trinity in 1946.

On Saturday, French won 25 of the 34 votes cast from the 75th minute of the match, with the other nine split between his Wigan team-mates.

Half-back Harry Smith and captain Liam Farrell each received three; Aussie forward Kaide Ellis claimed two; and full-back Jai Field one.