Jennings ready for a big 2017
Parramatta Eels centre Michael Jennings has spent over 10 years in the NRL.
The centre debuted for the Penrith Panthers in 2007, playing in over 210 First Grade games over the last decade.
However after an uninterrupted pre-season, Jennings has warned that he is feeling fit and ready for the season, improving on his blistering speed from last year.
“I didn’t even know that! I wouldn’t of expected that, 10 years makes me feel old,” Jennings said when hearing he of his 10th anniversary since making his first grade debut.
“I wouldn’t of expect that when I first started playing, being my 10th year now, it has gone so quick.”
Over those 10 years, Jennings has had an illustrious and well distinguished career, with stints at the Penrith Panthers, Sydney Roosters, along with Representative honours for Australia, NSW, City Origin, Tonga, NRL All Stars and Prime Minister’s XIII sides.
And in 2017, Jennings has reunited with new Blue & Gold recruits Frank Pritchard and trainer Ronnie Palmer.
“It’s good to have Franky there. We have some old stories and he is always bringing up old stories from back in our Penrith days,” Jennings said.
“He has been good for the boys, he has that experience and he has that leadership and all that stuff that he brings. He has been really good for the younger fellas and he has been helping out which has been really good for us.”
“He is still the same from back in those days, you would think he is younger than what he is,” Jennings added.
“Kaysa Pritchard is probably more mature than Franky is at the moment!”
Palmer has been a trainer at the Penrith Panthers, Sydney Roosters and NSW Origin side, and Jennings said he has been working hard under Palmer, stripping some kilos and getting back some speed after a tough pre-season.
And it bodes well for Jennings, whose electrifying speed will be a real danger in an Eels backline that features fellow speedsters Bevan French and Semi Radradra.
“I haven’t had a pre-season starting in November for a couple of years. Last year, starting in November, it was good to get six weeks of tough training in,” Jennings said.
“It is good to have Ronnie back, he always trains me hard. I have shred some kilos and I’ve been going good on my fitness.”
“The 2 kilos doesn’t seem like much but it has helped a lot for my speed. Over a longer distance, I would say I am faster than what I was last year.”
And with the Eels claiming the two points over the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, Jennings said having halfback Corey Norman back on the field is a real positive for the Blue & Gold.
His combination with Clint Gutherson will only improve over time.
“It was good to get the two points. There is a lot to work on, being the first round, it was good to get out there and get our combinations,” Jennings said.
“Normy and Gutho are working really well and playing some good footy. Getting that combination right and adapting to each team is what is need this week.”
“It’s good having Normy back. He is in a good head space, taking on his responsibilities and it’s good to have him back as a leader,” Jennings added.
“He is leading the boys around the park really well and for myself, it’s always good to have Normy there.”
“He has come back firing, played really well on the weekend, and I think the main thing is that he has taken on that leadership role and is fixing up his off field issues.”
The Eels kick off against the St. George Illawarra Dragons at WIN Stadium on Sunday 12 March, kick off at 6:30pm.