Michael Jennings opens up on horror season

The Eels were backed as a top-four chance in pre-season but are currently bottom of the pile and will have to produce some sort of miracle to avoid the wooden spoon.

On top of that, the 30-year-old Test and former Origin centre was sent back to train with the reserve grade team a month ago as his personal form began to slide.

Yes, 2018 has been a season to forget in many ways for Jennings.

But through the clouds has shone a light many people may not have expected.

Jennings’ younger brother Robert is enjoying the best season yet in his professional rugby league career.

Eight years Michael’s junior, Robert has made his mark on South Sydney’s left wing and has become one of the NRL’s leading tryscorers.

The 22-year-old had struggled to nail down a spot in first grade until new Rabbitohs coach Anthony Seibold handed him the No.5 jumper and told him to make it his own. He’s scored 17 tries in 17 games and is equal leading tryscorer alongside Cronulla’s Valentine Holmes.

Their other brother George has also earned a regular spot alongside Michael in the Parramatta team.

Michael Jennings has opened up on his season from hell. 

“I think that’s a positive out of this year, seeing both my brothers succeed in the NRL,” Jennings said.

“They are both playing good footy.

“I want to be a leader for them so I have to step my game up.”

Even though Robert is playing for a different club, the three siblings make sure to get together once a week to catch up.

But the topic of their conversation is almost never rugby league.

Even though Michael has played Test matches and Origin games and won NRL premierships, he tries not to interfere too much in his younger brothers’ careers.

“We’re always together, every week,” he said.

“Robert pops in now and then to say hello. We don’t talk that much about footy, we just hang out, chill out.

“We talk about what’s happening in life which is good.

“It’s over a Sunday barbie, he comes over for dinner and Mum cooks a feed for us all.

“We just hang out but there’s no footy talk.”

Ultimately, their dream is to one day play alongside one another wearing the Tongan jersey.

Michael and Robert played together for Tonga earlier this year but George is yet to experience a Test match for their native country.

“I played with Robert earlier this year in the Test match. It would be good to have George there, that would be great,” Michael said.

For Jennings, he knows his time in the game is running out.

He’s committed to playing for the Eels in 2019 but he’s unsure of his future beyond next season.

The arrival of Blake Ferguson at the club next year could impact his role at the club in a big way.

And after being sent back to reserve grade mid-season by coach Brad Arthur, Jennings knows playing consistently good football is the only thing that can prolong his NRL career.

“I wasn’t performing well and fair enough, it doesn’t matter who you are, if you aren’t performing at this level then you shouldn’t be here,” he said.

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