Fit French backs spine tinkering Eels
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