Parramatta coach Brad Arthur has poured cold water all over the hype surrounding rookie sensation Bevan French, declaring him unlikely to be seen in the NRL any time soon.
Bevan was the talk of the NRL Auckland Nines, topping the try-scoring charts with eight-four pointers and amassing an impressive highlights reel across the weekend.
The 20-year-old was the only uncapped NRL player to be named in the Nines team of the tournament, but Arthur amazingly played down his impact.
Bevan showed why he was being so eagerly anticipated by Eels fans with several long-range tries in which he showed blistering speed.
French on Saturday said he felt at home after his first taste of top grade and declared himself ready to wear the blue and gold No.1 jersey.
However, Arthur deflected his praise and said he was in the queue for a backline spot with several teammates in front of him.
“We’ve got some boys there that have been training in the backline for round one and Bevan’s not part of that,” Arthur said.
“He’s only young – he’s still got a lot to learn. He played well but he was pretty fortunate he was on the end of some pretty slick passing.”
Arthur hailed the efforts of Eels playmaker Corey Norman who was named player of the tournament.
Norman will partner key signing Kieran Foran in the halves this year with much of his side’s hopes resting on his shoulders.
“He’s maturing and he’s growing with his leadership and I’m pretty hard on him and put a lot of pressure on him at training and he’s responding,” Arthur said.
NINES TEAM OF THE TOURNAMENT:
* Tom Trbojevic (Manly)
* Corey Norman (Parramatta)
* Bevan French (Parramatta)
* Shaun Johnson (Warriors)
* Tuimoala Lolohea (Warriors)
* Agnatius Paasi (Gold Coast)
* Tohu Harris (Melbourne)
* Chris McQueen (Gold Coast)
* Semi Radradra (Parramatta)