Bevan French is keen to see if he can make it as one of the NRL's premier fullbacks.
Bevan French is keen to see if he can make it as one of the NRL's premier fullbacks.

French’s fullback desire could see him quit the Eels

BEVAN French wants to play in the No. 1 jumper and he's willing to leave Parramatta to do it.

In a statement that's sure to put the Eels and rival NRL clubs on notice, French yesterday said he was determined to find out whether he had what it took to become one of the NRL's premier fullbacks.

The Tingha product isn't off contract until the end of next year but will be free to explore his options elsewhere from November.

Behind Clint Gutherson in the pecking order at the Eels, French said if the opportunity to play at the back was put on the table by a rival club he would seriously consider the offer.

"I've had a little chat with my manager and come the end of the year we'll have a sit down and have a chat about that and chat with the club and see where I sit," he said.

"A lot of people's opinion is that I'm a better winger than fullback but I'd be pretty disappointed if I spent my whole career out on the wing.

"I don't want to look back and say I didn't try. If I try and go somewhere and try to be a fullback and it doesn't work out, at least I know I gave it a crack and I'll be happy to play anywhere then."

French, 22, said any decision about his future wouldn't be taken lightly and that a promise to play at fullback wouldn't alone be enough to entice him elsewhere.

"You have to look at the clubs and the facilities and what I can learn,'' French said.

 

Bevan French in action for the Eels. The young gun burst onto the scene at the Auckland Nines just a few years ago. Picture: AAP
Bevan French in action for the Eels. The young gun burst onto the scene at the Auckland Nines just a few years ago. Picture: AAP

 

"I have learnt a lot here and I'm sure if I do stay here I'll continue to learn a lot. I'll have to sit down and go through the pros and cons of things at the end of the season with my manager. It's something I'll have to start thinking about soon."

In-form Sydney Roosters winger Blake Ferguson will join the Eels from next year and he and French play on the right side of the field.

While the Parramatta flyer said he wasn't too fussed about which edge he ended up on next year, he wouldn't necessarily be giving up the right wing spot without a fight.

"It'll be healthy for our club and the team in general," he said. "I think we already have strong competition with the roster we have.

 

Bevan French during training yesterday where he revealed he’d be willing to leave the club for a chance at playing fullback. Picture: Brett Costello
Bevan French during training yesterday where he revealed he’d be willing to leave the club for a chance at playing fullback. Picture: Brett Costello

 

"Everyone is sort of pushing for positions every week. He's only going to add to that.

"It doesn't bother me what side I play or anything like that. Come preseason it will be interesting to see who is going to play where and the competition is just going to put everyone on their toes."

French said the signature of Ferguson was a step in the right direction to helping fill the void left by rampaging Fijian flyer Semi Radradra. The Eels have sorely missed Radradra's explosive carries and X-factor.

"I'm a bit surprised the Roosters didn't re-sign (Ferguson)," he said.