Michael Jennings rags on Panthers, but he’s not wrong

Well this probably won’t fuel any fires or anything.

Michael Jennings claimed in today’s Telegraph:

“Pearcey and Jimmy are quality players and they’re making my job easy,” Jennings said.

“All I’ve got to do is turn up and do my job. It makes me play my best footy.

“It’s a similar role, but it’s so much easier playing with quality players. It makes my job a lot easier.”

Fueling the fire. image credit Sydney Roosters.

Fueling the fire. image credit Sydney Roosters.

This will only help fuel the #Love2Hate campaign, and I can already see the rest of the NRL media and fans lining up to call the guy arrogant.

But lets take a step back for just one second.

For one, he never actually says that his old teammates sucked. Rather, he’s simply praising his new halves.

From a journalism point of view, the journalist has probably asked “So what is the difference between last year and this year? How do you see your role being different?”

To which Michael Jennings can say one of two things:

1) I’m looking forward to a new challenge (boring…plus the word challenge could be taken the wrong way in that he finds working with MP7 and Maloney “challenging”).

2) What he said.

He’s obviously not media-trained to the point that someone like a Mitchell Pearce or a Braith Anasta is, which is OK because he’s left to be honest.

But like it or not, he did inadvertently throw his old teammates — especially old halves Luke Walsh, Travis Burns and Lachlan Coote –under a bus.

But what if he actually did mean to do that? Is that seriously a bad thing? Or even unexpected?

Let me explain.

Michael Jennings, for the better part of a year, was rubbished by the Panthers without anyone — not a single teammate — speaking up on his behalf.

His only saving grace was his State of Origin performances which were sandwiched around his being dropped to the Windsor Wolves for (to paraphrase) “poor form and attitude”.

He hasn’t said a word about it until now, and took the high road when Ivan Cleary suggested earlier in the year that they weren’t getting value for money out of their highest paid player.

That it took this long to defend his honour — even if he inadvertently threw his former teammates under a Mack truck in the process — is kind of amazing.

No longer at the Panthers, Jennings should excel. Image credit Daily Telegraph.

No longer at the Panthers, Jennings should excel. Image credit Daily Telegraph.

And for fuck’s sake, they did suck last year. Should he lie and say that playing at Penrith was like living in Disneyland?

Further, he’s right: he performs far, FAR better when surrounded by quality teammates. Just look at his State Of Origin performances the past two years.

Luke Walsh is a great general play kicker, and most of his attacking plays come in the form of chips and grubbers. It’s hard for any centre, no matter what class, to excel without getting the ball off a pass at speed. That’s a fact.

Finally, think about this for a second: Michael Jennings isn’t the only player to have been released from Penrith in the past couple of years.

Favourite son Luke Lewis was demoted as captain because he “didn’t have it” and moved to Cronulla.

Michael Gordon also moved to Cronulla after the media played up how he demanded to play fullback despite the presence of Lachlan Coote. He looked selfish and arrogant.

Travis Burns was allowed to sign with a Super League club and Penrith barely said “don’t let the door hit you on the way out” after he was suspended for 17 matches.

Frank Pritchard signed with Canterbury after being labelled “soft” with nary word said in defence of him from anyone out west. He went on to play in a Grand Final in 2012 and formed a formidable power tandem with Kasiano on the left edge.

At what point do we sit back and say “hang on” and wonder whether all of this was a ploy for the Panthers to rid themselves of large contracts — including sacking Luke lewis as captain — and rebuild from the ground up?

In short: does Jennings really have an attitude problem? Or was that a convenient excuse to expedite his release?

Either way, he is going to get a heck of a reception when he makes his return to the foot of the mountains in Round 21.

And wouldn’t it be ironic if he did this against his old club after doing this for his old club against his new club (I’m dizzy)?

 

From The Telegraph:

STAR signing Michael Jennings believes his job will be much easier this season because he is surrounded by more talent at the Roosters than he played with at the Panthers.

While keen to move on from his bitter falling out with Panthers coach Ivan Cleary and general manager Phil Gould, Jennings let slip this pre-season with the Roosters has shown him he will get much better service and opportunities to take on the defensive line in 2013.

He said the halves combination of Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney and an energetic forward pack are the main reasons he will not have to work as hard to break lines.

“Pearcey and Jimmy are quality players and they’re making my job easy,” Jennings said.

“All I’ve got to do is turn up and do my job. It makes me play my best footy.

“It’s a similar role, but it’s so much easier playing with quality players. It makes my job a lot easier.”

via Michael Jennings says quality of Sydney Roosters players makes his job easier than at Penrith Panthers | thetelegraph.com.au.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s