May 28, 2024

Former Sydney Roosters, Parramatta Eels, and Penrith Panthers center Michael Jennings is reportedly on the verge of securing an opportunity in the NRL through a train and trial deal with the Roosters.

Jennings has been out of the game for the past three years due to a suspension resulting from a failed drug test. His initial suspension, which began on October 9, 2020, was a result of a positive drug test. Consequently, his contract with the Parramatta Eels was terminated in May 2021. Later, on October 15 of the same year, he accepted a three-year ban, backdated to 2020, for his involvement in doping in rugby league.

Now, the three-year suspension has concluded, and despite being 35 years old, Jennings is eager to make a return to rugby league.

Former State of Origin star Michael Jennings banned for three years after  breaching NRL anti-doping rules | Sporting News Australia

According to reports from News Corp, he will be given a chance through a train and trial deal with the Roosters, led by coach Trent Robinson. However, it’s important to note that Jennings has faced other off-field issues during his absence from the sport, and the NRL has yet to grant final approval for the deal.

Train and trial deals enable players to train full-time with an NRL squad, earning approximately $1000 per week, but they are not allowed to play in the NRL until Round 11 of the competition. This arrangement is similar to development deals for younger players, who can also make their first-grade debuts from Round 11. Special dispensation from the NRL can be granted to players on these deals if injuries or suspensions prevent a club from naming the required number of players.

If Jennings makes his comeback through a train and trial contract with the Roosters, he will likely start in the NSW Cup, the second-tier competition. There were reports that he had considered moving to England to resume his career at one point.

Jennings, who was part of the Roosters’ 2013 grand final team during his first season with the club, has a rich history in the NRL. He previously played 122 games for the Panthers and added another 105 appearances for the Eels between 2016 and 2020. Over the course of his career, Jennings scored a total of 154 NRL tries in 298 games. He also represented New South Wales in State of Origin matches 18 times, including a memorable selection from reserve grade. Additionally, he has seven Tests for Australia, 12 for Tonga, four games for the Prime Minister’s XIII, four for City Origin, and three for the NRL All Stars.

At the peak of his career, Jennings was regarded as one of the top centers in the game, and he notably scored 41 tries during his 71 games for the Roosters.

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