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The Dyldam Parramatta Eels newest recruit, Michael Jennings, says he and Tim Mannah’s teenage rivalries are well in the past as the two prepare for the 2016 season as teammates for the first time.

The two, now good mates, came face to face playing for local rivals Penrith and Parramatta in the District Representative SG Ball and Harold Matthews Cups in the early 2000s, and Jennings says the competition was fierce.

“During the SG Ball and Harold Matts, that was a quality rivalry that we had and when you’re young, it was unbelievable,” Jennings said.

“They got one on us and we got one on them in the SG Ball Grand Final so it’s pretty intense looking back at it now!”

Mannah has taken the lead in helping the NSW State of Origin and Kangaroos centre settle into his new club, with Jennings stepping straight into training with the squad on his first day in Parramatta.

“The boys are really welcoming me in and Timmy’s helping me out a lot showing me around and introducing me to everyone, so it’s been good so far,” Jennings said.

“It was always going to be a hard decision, leaving your teammates and coming to a new environment.  But seeing this club that’s on the rise, there are some good signs and that’s what got me over the line.”

With 193 NRL games under his belt, Jennings is no stranger to the passion Parramatta Members and fans are known for on game day. In 2016, he’s hoping the shouts from the Blue and Gold Army will be a little more welcoming.

“Hopefully they’ll all be behind me and backing the Blue and Gold,” Jennings said.

“It’s going to be something different but I’m really looking forward to it. 2016 looks like a bright future for the Blue and Gold and I’m just really looking forward to a great season and doing my best.”

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Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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