Nobody can blame Michael Jennings for signing a $650,000-a-year contract. But the enigmatic centre only has himself to blame for what has happened since.
Once considered a prodigy the Panthers could build an exciting future on, Jennings has become nothing more than a passenger in his own stuttering career.
If you’re going to sign such a huge contract, you have to back it up in absolutely everything you do. The silky outside back has done anything but. Jennings hasn’t just given Panthers General Manager Phil Gould ammunition; he has given him an arsenal.
Now the international centre sits precariously on the chopping block.
In this crazy world we call the National Rugby League, it is anybody’s guess where he will end up.
Will it be the Sydney Roosters or will it be the Gold Coast Titans?
Or is there another twist at the foot of the mountains?
Could the media-shy Jennings break his silence or could he even sit down with Gould and cop a pay cut for the club that made him a superstar?
Looking closely, the only real winners in all of this might just be the Panthers.
If Jennings does accept a pay cut, which is highly unlikely, Gould and Penrith get what they want. If he does leave, Penrith would have finally cleaned up the worst salary cap the modern game has seen.
Jennings would look lovely in a Roosters strip. But what does he bring to a team that desperately needs leadership and a little less flash?
With the likes of Mitchell Pearce and Sonny Bill Williams leading a metrosexual renaissance at Allianz Stadium, the Roosters need some ticker. A warrior willing to lead from the front.
Jennings isn’t that guy.
Gold Coast is another side willing to fork out a motza for his services.
Titans CEO David May couldn’t speak highly enough of the out-of-favour Panther.
“He’s a superstar of the game and we want superstars at the Titans,” May told The Daily Telegraph earlier in the week.
“I’d imagine we are one of a number of clubs interested in him, but ultimately it will be Michael’s decision.
“We’d love to have him here but if we don’t get him we have a number of different players already at the club who can more than do the job in the outside backs.”
Gold Coast coach John Cartwright is seemingly doing everything in his power to not sign a genuine halfback. With a plethora of giant forwards and a few talented wingers, the Titans desperately need a playmaker.
They don’t need Jennings.
The Roosters and the Titans are chasing Jennings for the sake of chasing.
One way or another, Gould and the Panthers are laughing all the way to the bank.