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Jennings gave up security to stay an Eel

Michael Jennings had the option of locking up his future at Newcastle but he decided to stay for the last year of his deal at Parramatta.

Jennings gave up security to stay an Eel

Michael Jennings had the option of locking up his future at Newcastle but he decided to stay for the last year of his deal at Parramatta.

MICHAEL JENNINGS of the Eels runs the ball during the NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium Sydney, Australia.
MICHAEL JENNINGS of the Eels runs the ball during the NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium Sydney, Australia. Picture:Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Michael Jennings knocked back the security of a longer-term option at Newcastle to see out the final season of his Parramatta NRL contract that he expects to be spent in first grade.

Jennings appeared to be headed towards the departures lounge at Parramatta late last year, with the Knights the leading contender to secure the former State of Origin and Kangaroos star.


Such a move would unlikely have been opposed by Parramatta, given the Eels were struggling to manage their salary cap and were at the time battling to re-sign Jarryd Hayne before his off-field dramas were known,

But instead the 30-year-old Jennings took up the option in his favour to remain at the Eels for the final year of his deal, knocking back the security of a longer stay elsewhere.

"There was a more extended deal at a new club," Jennings told AAP.

"But ultimately I just wanted to back my ability and I just had unfinished business here. I didn't want to leave the club on a bad year, I wanted to leave something good behind.

"I wanted to see this team succeed from when I first came to Parramatta and I still believe that this team can be successful."

Jennings had a disappointing 2018, scoring six tries and setting up a career-low of two as the Eels finished the season in last place.

He also spent a week in reserve grade during the middle of the season when the Eels had the bye, with coach Brad Arthur unhappy with his performances.

There had been suggestions last month that Jennings would again start 2019 in NSW Cup, but the star centre rubbished those this week.

"I've been training with the first team so I think I'm playing with the first team," Jennings said

Jennings expects he'll start in the centres with Brad Takairangi in round one against Penrith, with the edge player against spending time out wide in the pre-season.

Rookie Jaeman Salmon has also trained there, but will play in the halves in a reserve grade hit-out against South Sydney on Thursday night.

Uncapped teenager Dylan Brown is tipped to win out the battle to partner Mitchell Moses in the halves in the NRL.

AAP


AAP




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