Bevan French fulfilled a wish from his dying mother by helping Wigan bring home the Challenge Cup for a record-extending 20th time.
The 26-year-old Australian utility back returned home last year to care for his mother during her illness and he missed the start of the 2022 season after being given further compassionate leave following her death.
French says his mother encouraged him to return to Wigan and help them win silverware to repay them for their support during his difficult time.
“It is emotional,” French said after the Warriors’ thrilling 16-14 win over Huddersfield on Saturday.
“Everyone in the squad spoke on a personal level about what a win would mean to them. They spoke about helping the club and the friendships and everything.
“A lot of them got deep and that (his mum) was it for me. The last 12 months have been a bit tough and I felt like today it all came down to this moment.
“I don’t know, it still doesn’t seem real. It’s crazy because my mum and I spoke about this sort of thing when she was still here.
“She wanted me to come back here and, I guess as a tribute in some kind of way, to bring some silverware to Wigan because of the way they supported me during that period.
“I spoke about it with my mum in the past 12 months and to finally come here and do it, in the way that we did it, I’m still soaking it all in.”
Wigan were outplayed for long periods of the match and needed a try four minutes from the end by winger Liam Marshall to see them home.
“Obviously I’m over the moon with it all, but at the moment it’s still sinking in,” added French, who produced the break that set up fellow countryman Jai Field for Wigan’s second try.
“It’s crazy – the crowd, the atmosphere, the build-up; everything.
“And the way that we won too – just crazy.”
French, whose uncle Nathan Blacklock won the cup with Hull in 2005, says the action from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was watched by his friends and family back home in Tingha, New South Wales.
“It kicked off about midnight over there, so quite a few boys will be on the beers and still going now,” he said.
“I’m glad to get the win for them and obviously for everyone at the club too.
“Like I said, it was a really personal thing for everyone.
“Just to imagine what they’re doing right now, sitting watching TV, and what the atmosphere would have been like when Marshy scored in the last couple of minutes.
“It’s crazy. I’m still trying to soak it all in to be honest.”