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I never wanted to leave Penrith: Jennings

By Joe Barton,

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    Sydney Roosters recruit Michael Jennings never wanted to leave Penrith, and has taken exception to Penrith coach Ivan Cleary’s stinging assessment that he was released because he wasn’t living up to his lofty wage.

    Jennings on Tuesday was released from the final three years of his Panthers contract, reportedly worth $650,000 a season, with Cleary claiming it was because the NSW State of Origin centre wasn’t providing value for money.

    The comments hurt Jennings, who trained with the Panthers all off-season with an expectation he would be staying at his childhood club.

    “It is disappointing hearing that,” Jennings said on Thursday.

    “… Ivan is entitled to his own opinion.

    “… I am disappointed because I love Penrith. I still have a soft spot for them … I did everything I could at Penrith.

    “I’ve got no bad blood.”

    Cleary was blunt in his assessment of Jennings’ output for the Panthers, who finished second last with just eight wins in 2012.

    Cleary showed a ruthless attitude to Jennings during last season as well, dropping him to reserve grade, despite the Blacktown junior playing in all three Origin games for NSW.

    “The bottom line is that when your highest-paid asset is not bringing the return you need, then something’s got to give,” Cleary said on Wednesday.

    The Panthers had been shopping Jennings to rival NRL clubs since midway through last season as questions were raised about the 24-year-old’s attitude and application to training.

    But Jennings said he never wavered in his desire to stay at Penrith, admitting it was emotional saying farewell to teammates he’d played with since his junior days.

    “My intentions weren’t to move. I never wanted to leave,” he said.

    “That was never the option. I went with a positive attitude (to training) and I tried.

    “… It was tough (to say goodbye) because I’ve played with some of those boys since I was a kid. It was tough.”

    Jennings said he was never given any indication by Cleary that he felt he wasn’t putting in the required effort.

    “I didn’t feel nothing from Ivan,” Jennings said.

    “I didn’t hear anything. I didn’t sense anything.”

    Jennings, who said he wants to slot into his preferred left centre position, identified classy halves pairing Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney as a key reason behind his reason for choosing the Roosters.

    But he said he wasn’t being critical of Penrith halfback Luke Walsh, even admitting he didn’t go looking for the ball as much as the Panthers asked of him.

    “I’m not frustrated with Walsh or anything like that,” he said.

    “(But) I didn’t apply myself to getting the ball.

    “… I’ve worked with Pearcey (for NSW). I’ve seen James Maloney at work.

    “I wanted to work with them. I’ve seen that they’re moving forward as a club.

    “I wanted to be a part of it. I’m excited to be here right now.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • January 18th 2013 @ 9:12am
      B.A Sports said | January 18th 2013 @ 9:12am | ! Report

      “I didn’t feel nothing from Ivan,” Jennings said

      Spoken like a true footballer (of any code) in this country.

    • January 18th 2013 @ 11:22am
      Meesta Cool said | January 18th 2013 @ 11:22am | ! Report

      Salkary cap. what salary cap?.. c’mon let’s get real. SBW and Jennings etc,etc,etc. who are we kidding!.

      • January 18th 2013 @ 11:35am
        oikee said | January 18th 2013 @ 11:35am | ! Report

        🙂 The other day i said that John Grant needs to sack Shubert. Why not, he has sacked Gallop, Harrigon, all the drongos that were causing the game harm. Well Gallop was past his use by date, that was all.
        If you want to fix problems, you need to first get rid of the deadwood.
        John Grant understands the way business works. Shubert has dragged the chain for years now. Time his head went on the chopping block.
        Shonky deal with Sonny, now a shonky deal with Jennings. The game cant be taken seriopusly while these petty injustices continue.

        Another club paying half deals has got to stop, and handshake deals , come on, that is under six sort of stuff, not professional that is for sure. Anyone who calls that professional is either a conman or a crook. 🙂
        Shubert is both, he must be paid a fortune , not by rugby league,. 😉

        • January 20th 2013 @ 11:16am
          Pot Stirrer said | January 20th 2013 @ 11:16am | ! Report

          And Princes deal with the Broncos is anything but Shonky???

    • January 18th 2013 @ 11:26am
      Roarsome said | January 18th 2013 @ 11:26am | ! Report

      “despite the Blacktown junior playing in all three Origin games for NSW.” So, how’d that work out? Eric the Eel swam at the Olympics, that doesn’t make him a good swimmer.

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download it now [].

      • January 18th 2013 @ 12:40pm
        Mals said | January 18th 2013 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

        Hehe awesome Roarsome puffing out his chest cause QLD won the decider by 1 point.

        • January 18th 2013 @ 11:01pm
          Michael said | January 18th 2013 @ 11:01pm | ! Report

          For the 7th year in a row.

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