• Nowhere to Go but Up for 2019 NRL Parramatta Eels

    Michael Jennings has revealed his reasoning for not slipping out of Parramatta to Newcastle ahead of the 2019 Telstra NRL Premiership competition.

    The Eels finished fourth in 2017, then plunged to spooners in 2018, the victims, apparently, of some sort of toxic presence similar to the one that kept Gold Coast firmly rooted in the bottom four for a number of seasons.

    “Ultimately I had to make a decision and my decision was to stay here,” Jennings told media outlets. “I had to decide what I wanted to leave here. Do I just want to run off after a bad year? “That’s something I wouldn’t live with — not backing myself and trying, trying to make the team better. That was my goal when I came here.”

    Very admirable, Mr. Jennings. At least, the Eels can do no worse than last year.

    Jennings has the security of looking back to 2013 and seeing a premiership from his days with the Chooks, so he unabashedly admitted that last season was the most difficult of his career.

    Jennings had it tough from the perspective of the team and from the personal perspective as well. He was sent down to feeder club Wentworthville in the middle of the 2018 season.

    Part of the appeal of playing with Parramatta might be the opportunity to play with his brother, George. George was a shining light for a team otherwise overshadowed by all manner of roiling clouds last season.

    The atmosphere and the entire environment in Parramatta may have been reclaimed for 2019 and eliminating another case of NRL salary cap violations leaves them with little money to pay any aging former stars who fail to pull their weights.

    There are 15 other potential destinations, well, 14 if you eliminate the hopefully older and wiser Titans from the equation, but the NRL have surprised us in the past…