The Parramatta Eels take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium on Friday 26 May in Round 12 of the NRL Telstra Premiership.
Blue & Gold fullback Bevan French, who returned to the field in the Eels 22-16 defeat to the Canberra Raiders last week from a knee injury had flashes of brilliance in his 132m performance, however predicted it will still be a couple of weeks until he is back to 100%.
“I was a bit tender yesterday and after the game as expected, though It’s still going to be a couple of weeks before its fully healed but should be ready to go by Friday,” French said ahead of the Eels clash.
“Just making for the game was a bit of a confidence boost. We knew it was going to be a bit tender afterwards and yesterday as well.”
“I’ve spoke to everyone else who’s had a PCL injury, so I’m not to worried about it should be ready to go by Friday and back to 100% in a week or two.”
“It’s my first one so it’s a bit sketchy so that’s probably another reason why its probably going to take another week or two.” He added.
And French knows the next few weeks are important, as he tries to secure and lock down his preferred position in the number one jersey.
“It’s a big 5 weeks for me and like you said, ‘Gutho’ he’s been killing it wherever he plays and he went really good at fullback when he was there for the few weeks.” French said.
“Obviously Normy is going to come back as one of the halves there so I’ve got to really pull my game up over the next few weeks. I was probably a bit off my game there on the weekend but hopefully I can turn it around this week.”
However French will do whatever is best for the team.
“It [fullback] is my preferred position, obviously I want to play fullback and hopefully I stay there the whole season, but even if Gutho does get put back in that position and I’m playing on wing or wherever it is, it doesn’t really bother me.” French said.
“As long as its what’s good for the team at the moment, it’s the main important thing. Hopefully I do submit the spot at number 1 but if not then its what’s best for the team.”
The Eels will take on a Rabbitohs side, which suffered a 14-6 loss to the Melbourne Storm last week, and French said despite their recent result, the Eels cannot take their opposition lightly.
“It’s a good time to get them I suppose, flying back from Perth as well and the short turn around but we can’t take them lightly.” French said.
“You look at the squad they’ve got there and the Burgess boys, Walker and Reynolds, you can’t really take any team lightly in the NRL to be honest.”
“Even though we sort of got them at a good time and they are probably not going to be at their best, we still have to come there with our A-game and just complete our sets and do our roles.”
The Eels will once again feature Clint Gutherson and Mitchell Moses in the halves, and French says the pair will only continue to improve.
“Mitch came in last week and he offered quite a bit actually. We looked a bit lost there at times attacking the try line but we’ve worked on that this week,” French said.
“Even though we have to be better in that department, it was sort of expected. We only had two sessions with each other, but it’s still no excuse. We’ve worked on it this week, we’ve watched a bit of video and seen what we needed to work on there and hopefully we can improve on that Friday night.”
“On the weekend our attitude was there. We kept fighting to the 80th minute,” he added.
“The attitude was there, we were just lacking a bit of sense of direction with our plays and attacking the try line. But that is sort of expected with only a couple of sessions under our belt, together as a team.”
And French says it won’t be long before the combinations begin to click and gel.
“Even though we played on the weekend, we had a training session today and it already improved quite a bit.” French said.
“So I’m not going to say its going to take a while, within the week it’s already improved quite a bit with me and Mitch trying to build a bit of a relationship on the field.”
“We have got great coaching staff and they can pick out the little things in video and show us what to work on and we work on it there, so it won’t be too long I’d say.”
The Eels kick off against the South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium on Friday 26 May in Round 12 of the NRL Telstra Premiership. Kick off is at 7:50pm.