Monday 18 December 2017 / 02:50 AM

FREAKISH FRENCH A 2017 BLUES BOLTER

Bevan French marked himself as a special talent by smashing the Auckland Nines’ tryscoring record during Parramatta’s victory in the abbreviated format in February, but Eels coach Brad Arthur resisted the temptation to thrust the rookie into first grade.

The 20-year-old Tingha product could only be denied for so long, however, and after debuting in Round 12 French has again emerged as one of the discoveries of 2016 on the wing for the embattled Eels.

French has crossed in all four of appearances in the top flight to date, including a double against Souths in Round 15 and a stunning hat-trick at the expense of ladder leaders Cronulla on Saturday.

But it’s the way he scores his tries that has NRL fans and pundits buzzing.

Firstly, there’s his searing pace that netted a 70-metre runaway try against the Sharks:

After completing a first-half double, French displayed dazzling-yet-graceful footwork in a 50-metre jaunt to the line late in the contest that gave the gallant Eels a sniff of victory.

Although smaller than most of his wing counterparts, French appears to be a genuine all-rounder on the flank.

Safe and composed under the high ball with excellent positional sense and sound defence, the youngster is the complete package.

With Blake Ferguson making little impression on the Blues’ wing in this Origin campaign, expect the likes of French to come into calculations when NSW undergo a belated overhaul in 2017.

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About the author

Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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