Parramatta Eels fullback Bevan French has had a busy two weeks.
After featuring in the Blue & Gold campaign at the 2017 Downer NRL Auckland Nines, French spent the week with the Indigenous All Stars side ahead of their NRL All Stars clash.
Reflecting on the week, French said it was an enjoyable and proud provoking experience, spending time and playing alongside some of the games great players whilst representing his heritage.
“We were pretty busy out doing a fair bit of community work but I thoroughly enjoyed the week and it was really fun,” French said.
“It was all about inclusiveness, that was the topic we really focused on and spreading that message across the community. That was what it was all about, it wasn’t about one team playing against another, it was about playing together.”
“It is not very often you get the opportunity to represent your heritage and background, so it was a very exciting time for me and something I am proud of,” French added.
“I was very privileged to play alongside JT, GI and all these great players. It was pretty nerve wracking going into the week, but everyone got along well and they were welcoming and we all got into our comfort zone pretty quickly.”
“The week went pretty quick, just because everyone was bonding and how much fun everyone was having. On the field, you got to see how much they know and how much they can teach you. You see the leadership skills of all of them and I learnt a lot being out there.”
The fullback even went on to compare the Indigenous All Stars coach, Laurie Daley, similarly to Blue & Gold Head Coach Brad Arthur.
“I got to see what Laurie was like as a coach, how he leads the team around from a coaching point of view., game plans and all that. It was a new experience,” French said.
“BA is pretty tough and Laurie is pretty much the same. He is tough, does all the 1 percenters but it was a real good experience to work under him.”
Not only did French welcome the opportunity to work alongside new players and a new coach, he looked forward to the opportunity of going head to head with fellow Eels team mate Tepai Moeroa.
However he had a game plan.
“It was pretty funny, I told him and all the boys before that when we did the war dance, I was trying to look him in the eye,” French laughed.
“It was fun, one time he tackled me and gave me a bit of a niggle but it was all fun and games.”
“To be honest, I was trying to stay away from him and the big blokes in the middle but the one time he got me in the tackle he gave me a bit of a scruff around the neck!”
And now after a busy few weeks, it is time for French to focus on the season ahead.
“It was good to get back out there [Nines] last week, it was where I made me mark last year, but it was good to see a few few other rookies get out there this year and showcase their talent. A few of them really lit up the stage again.” French said.
“Although we didn’t come away with the win, I thought we did really well over there. We played as a team and I thought our forwards really stepped up.”
“I now cant wait for the season, I’m pretty itchy to pull the boots back on and get out there. We all know what we have to do so hopefully if we all play our role, we can have a pretty good year.” French added.
The Eels have a pre-season trial this weekend against the Penrith Panthers before their season kicks off against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles on Sunday 5 March for Round 1 of the NRL Telstra Premiership.