It was rumoured for a while and it has eventuated, with NSW representative centre Michael Jennings making the switch from the Eastern Suburbs to Western Sydney.
Jennings, who has been at the Roosters for some years now, heads back to Western Sydney to play for the Parramatta Eels, having previously played for the Penrith Panthers.
The four year deal strengthens the Eels side and back-line and for Jennings, the chance to play in a team that he sees is going places was one of the keys for him.
“Iâ€™m really excited about joining the Eels,â€ Jennings said.
â€œParramattaâ€™s a club on the rise and Iâ€™m looking forward to the challenge, taking a leadership role and further developing my game.â€
Playing alongside some previous team-mates at the club was also a key factor for Jennings.
â€œI have some really good mates at the club â€“ boys Iâ€™ve grown up with â€“ and I’m confident we can do well in the coming years,” said Jennings.
â€œIt will be a new experience playing out of the home sheds at Pirtek Stadium but itâ€™s something Iâ€™m very excited about and I canâ€™t wait to get started.â€
With the Eels planning and progressing both on and off the field, his signature will be a welcome boost for the club.
â€œMichael is very keen to join the Eels based on the direction the club is going and the environment weâ€™re building, and heâ€™ll be a valuable asset on and off the field,â€ CEO John Boulous said.
â€œWe have a very specific strategic plan for the next few seasons and his belief in our clubâ€™s purpose will help deliver that.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Head Coach Brad Arthur.
â€œMichaelâ€™s success in the game as a premiership-winner and in representative rugby league is obvious, and heâ€™ll be a real leader and mentor to some of the younger outside backs we have in our NRL squad,â€ Arthur said.
â€œI look forward to what he can bring to Parramatta.â€
Long-term longevity was an important part in the move for Jennings’ and whilst he will miss the Roosters, he knows that this is the best move for his career.
â€œWhile Iâ€™m sad to be leaving, I know itâ€™s the right call for my long-term future and Iâ€™m excited about that,” said Jennings.
â€œIâ€™m a better person for my time at the Roosters. From Robbo and all the staff and players, Iâ€™ve been part of a great family at the Club.
Iâ€™ve made some lifelong friends over the last three years and the Roosters will always be special to me,â€ he added.
The Roosters gave their thanks to Jennings for his service to the club, and coach Trent Robinson praised the work of Jennings over the last couple of seasons.
â€œJenko is a good man and Iâ€™ve loved coaching him. Heâ€™s had a big impact on the development of some of the younger players at the Roosters, and his contribution will live long in the memories of everyone associated with the Club,â€ said Robinson.
â€œI know I speak on behalf of everyone associated with the Roosters in wishing Jenko and his wife Kirra all the very best,â€ he added.