5 Feb 2021

Field hoping to emulate success of Hastings & French at Warriors

New Wigan Warriors signing Jai Field wants to emulate the success of Jackson Hastings and Bevan French when the 2021 Betfred Super League season gets underway in March. 

Field, who has begun pre-season training at his new club, is a former schoolmate of Hastings and played representative rugby league with French. 

The pair played an integral role in Warriors' run to the Grand Final in 2020, and Field is hopeful he can deliver equally as impressive performances for the Cherry & Whites.

“Both Jacko [Hastings] and Bevan [French] have done great things during their time at Wigan. If I can play half as good as those two, I’ll be happy,” he said. 

“Many Australians have played in Super League and gone home a better player. It’s allowed them to develop their game; I want to emulate those guys and feel Wigan is the place to do that.

“I had a chat with Jacko and Bevan before signing for the club - they told me about the standing and history of Wigan, which was a real attraction to me.

“Having those two here will help and make the transition to Super League easier.” 

Field joins Warriors a year on from his move to Leeds Rhinos breaking down. 

It left the 24-year-old without a club and forced him to train on his own. 

“I thought I had a deal to play for Leeds in 2020, so I stopped looking for NRL clubs to join, which is why I started training on my own,” Field outlined.

“However, I was left without a club when the move fell through.

“It was a challenge; I had to adapt because you cannot do game situation training on your own. 

“I had a few mates who would help out on weekends, but the only training I could do to a high standard was improving my kicking and fitness."

Field eventually found a club - joining the Parramatta Eels for the 2020 NRL season. 

He scored three tries in six appearances before signing for Adrian Lam's Warriors. 

It is a decision that Field is hoping will present an opportunity for consistent game time on the rugby field.

“I want to play every week and get some continuity in my game, which I haven’t had in the past,” Field outlined.

“Having been in and out of teams most of my career, getting that consistency is what I’m after.

“I’ve only been here for a couple of weeks, so we haven’t spoken too much about how or where I’m going to play.

“Super League is an expansive competition. Teams want to throw the ball around and play an attacking style. 

"I always want to play my natural brand of rugby league, which is running the ball and trying to beat players with my pace."

With the season still seven weeks away, Field’s immediate thoughts are about putting the foundations in place to have a successful year. 

He touched down in the UK a couple of weeks ago and – despite having to adapt to the weather and current lockdown restrictions – is enjoying life in the North West.

“I’ve settled in okay and the boys have been welcoming. It’s been good to get back into a daily routine,” he explained.

“The NRL finished a lot earlier than Super League, so I’ve been off for a while compared to the lads over here. 

“The biggest challenges have probably been adapting to the colder weather and being away from my family.

“It’s taken a little bit of time to get used to the lockdown in the UK as well, but I was in a bubble throughout the NRL season last year, so I haven't found it too bad.

"On the whole, it has been an enjoyable start."

By Oli Lathrope