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Huge wrap on Parramatta Eels' 17-year-old Bevan French

El Diablo

Post Whore

Huge wrap on Parramatta Eels' 17-year-old Bevan French, who six NRL clubs were chasing

Nick Walshaw
The Daily Telegraph
December 30, 2013 10:09PM

BEVAN French was only three games into his first grade career when tragedy struck.

"Yeah, mum found out,'' the Aboriginal teenager grins. "I'd already played a few times for Tingha firsts, but mum, she had thought I was still in under-18s.

"So when somebody told her, she said 'nup, that's it, I don't want you playing anymore'. So I agreed - then went straight back the next week.

"We were actually warming up outside the sheds when mum turned up at the game . . . (laughs) she came over and told me to take my jumper off. Our coach tried to change her mind but, no, that was it."

Call it a short delay to the inevitable then.

For while Tiffany French isn't exactly mad about her boy playing rugby league, the truth is young Bevan does it so well that, earlier this year, six NRL clubs including Melbourne fought over his signature.

That Parramatta won out, is impressive. Especially when you consider this gifted Inverell High product, a fullback who counts no less than Preston Campbell and Nathan Blacklock among his relatives, was also courted by Newcastle, the Gold Coast, Penrith and St George Illawarra.

"And I did go visit a few of them,'' shrugs arguably the State's most sought after bush schoolboy. "But in the end I chose the Eels . . . I just had a feeling."

A feeling?

"I'm not sure exactly what it was, I just liked the people here,'' the 17-year-old continues. "The way they approached me.

"I also have a lot of friends in the area and, knowing what a problem homesickness can be for kids from out my way, that also played a factor in the decision."

Hailing from the Tingha Tigers, among the most famous bush footy clubs in NSW, French is the type of player who talks enthusiastically about "freestyle footy". A kid who when representing NSW CHS this year, wore jumper No.21 - the impact player.

"And in the final, against Queensland, sure enough he came on and set up the winning try,'' enthuses Wayne Fowke, principal at Inverell High. "It was the same in the NSW Open touch final, only that time Bevan scored the try himself."

For their own part, however, Parramatta are refusing to talk up this teenager who, weighing only 76kg, had never done weights before arriving at Eels HQ. Reminding you that, with a contract allowing him to begin a university degree and travel home every six weeks to see family, he is unlikely to even play NRL before 2015.

"In footballing terms, Bevan hasn't done anything yet,'' Eels coach Brad Arthur explains. "But certainly, away from the field, he's exactly the type of young man we want to build this club around".

Fowke agrees.

"Bevan is so respected out here that, even among his peers, they call him 'Uncle','' the principal says. "He's a quiet person, incredibly humble, yet still he has this charisma about him, a belief. We all think he can really be something special . . . he just doesn't need to be rushed."


Need to see him play before I make a judgement. Not in the nrl, just need to see him run with a ball under his wing. I still remember the first time I saw GI, just walked past my dad in his lounge room watching qld cup and he was like "you should check this out, there's one guy here who no one can tackle", I had a glance at the tv and immediately could see who he meant, one lanky fella just seemed other worldly with his balance and grace running the ball, he was like an antelope and you just knew he was going to be one of the greatest players of all time, already as a teenaged kid shit kickin about on a dusty park field in suburban brisbane.

Don't really care about how humble or respected Bevo is, just want to see him move, then I'll know.


I don't get the confusion, me and my dad were watching the qld cup on Tv and saw GI playing, we were in GI's loungeroom, he wasn't there.

Gary Gutful

Post Whore
I don't get the confusion, me and my dad were watching the qld cup on Tv and saw GI playing, we were in GI's loungeroom, he wasn't there.

Got you...and I take it from the rest of your post that you are GI's dad. Is this right?


Staff member
thought I was reading an article about Albert Kelly

and he worked out so well for us
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