Fit French backs spine tinker­ing Eels

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NRL - MICHAEL CARAYANNIS

PAR­RA­MATTA flyer Be­van French be­lieves the team’s spine can de­liver the re­sults for Eels fans but not with­out the help of the rest of his team­mates.

French is once again part of a new-look play­mak­ing com­bi­na­tion as the Eels strug­gle for con­ti­nu­ity in key po­si­tions this year.

They have used four dif­fer­ent players at five-eighth, three at half­back and two full­backs with hooker Kaysa Pritchard the one con­stant in an other­wise scram­bled spine this year.

New re­cruit Mitchell Moses has as­sumed the No. 7 jer­sey al­low­ing Corey Nor­man to play at five-eighth. The pair had a rough ini­ti­a­tion last week fol­low­ing Par­ra­matta’s 32-6 loss to North Queens­land.

French said the pair needed time to com­bine.

“It’s go­ing pretty good,” French said of the com­bi­na­tion. “Mitch and Normy’s first game on the week­end and you saw the ef­fects of that. It’s only go­ing to get bet­ter each week.

“The boys are very con­fi­dent in what we can pro­duce. It’s not just them with how the spine is com­ing along. It’s ev­ery player in the 17 on the week­end we were all off our game. We have to pick that up if we’re go­ing to be play­ing fi­nals footy.

“It doesn’t just come down to Mitch. If every­one else in the team is not play­ing good then you can’t ex­pect him to pull a rab­bit out of the hat and make things hap­pen. If the whole team is go­ing well you’ll see Mitch go­ing well.”

Un­for­tu­nately for the Eels time is some­thing they do not have. They lan­guish out­side the top eight and need to beat St Ge­orge Illawarra to­day to give their fi­nals claims a much­needed boost.

“Me and Mitch formed a pretty good re­la­tion­ship,” French said.

“I’ve had Normy there for a cou­ple of games last year and the start of this year. That will all come along with time to­gether. We do it well at train­ing but when we get to the game our prepa­ra­tion side of things — it only takes two or three players not to be on their game and it put every­one else out. Not just as three. It’s not us three pre­par­ing and fo­cus­ing on our­selves.

“We have the whole team dur­ing video and we talk about the whole team be­ing on. We can’t just have us three work­ing well and the rest of the team not pre­par­ing well. We are do­ing ev­ery­thing as a squad be­cause it’s mostly the squad that are hav­ing a few con­cen­tra­tion lapses that are hurt­ing us.”

A knee in­jury has sti­fled French’s sea­son. He is feel­ing more com­fort­able with the in­jury, as he looks to repli­cate what he de­scribed as Parra’s best per­for­mance of the sea­son when they downed St Ge­orge Illawarra 34-16 in round two.

“I knew com­ing back it would take a bit of time for my knee get­ting used to play­ing with­out the lig­a­ment there,” French said. “On the week­end I got a bit of confidence. I thought it was my best game since I’ve been back.

“(The game against the Dragons) was the best game we’ve played all year. It’ll be good to back that per­for­mance up or get close to it. Since then we haven’t put an 80-minute per­for­mance to­gether.”

Par­ra­matta Eels full­back Be­van French knows only a col­lec­tive ef­fort can de­liver suc­cess for his side this sea­son. Pic­ture: Jonathan Ng

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.