A double to budding star Bevan French has fired Parramatta to a 30-12 win over South Sydney in Friday night’s NRL clash at ANZ Stadium.
In just his third game in first grade, the Eels’ winger showed his class with four-pointers either side of halftime as the Rabbitohs had one nail applied to the coffin for their 2016 season.
Even though Michael Maguire’s side were boosted pre-game with the early return of second-rower John Sutton from a pectoral injury, the Rabbitohs handed possession and field position to the Eels on a platter.
After three successive losses, they face having to win seven of their last 10 to qualify for the final eight.
The Eels next week are expected to have their penalties for alleged salary-cap breaches confirmed by the NRL, however Brad Arthur’s men showed plenty of ticker against the Rabbitohs with 20-year-old French proving he’s a player of the future.
Souths’ Alex Johnston had his best game in the fullback jumper, getting his side off to a flyer when he screamed onto a smart Cody Walker pass for a 6-0 lead in the 10th minute.
The Rabbitohs’ custodian was caught out of position when Clint Gutherson plucked a Corey Norman chip kick out of the air to even things up and the Eels went further ahead when French finished off a well-worked move on the right edge.
The Rabbitohs reduced the lead to two in the shadows of the break when Johnston sent Nathan Brown over and, although the home side looked to have all the momentum, they came out of the sheds in second gear.
The Rabbitohs repeatedly invited Parramatta down their end with a string of penalties and mistakes. And on the back of Cameron McInnes dropping the ball cold from the base of the scrum on his side’s 10m line, French showed scintillating speed to cross and extend their lead to eight before a Semi Radradra length-of-the-field effort sealed it.
Eels hooker Kaysa Pritchard was taken from the field with a shoulder and neck injury however it was not expected to be serious.