His mates describe him as a freak footballer, his coaches as a level-headed kid. But Robert Jennings just wants to be Robert.
The younger brother of Roosters and NSW Origin star Michael, Jennings is one of the stars of the Patrician Brothers Blacktown GIO Schoolboy Cup squad.
Patrician Brothers rugby league stalwart Greg Beacroft has seen it all and has no doubts over the younger Jennings’ talent.
“I think he could be better than his brother and he is a good kid to boot.”
But Jennings is refusing to be caught in his brother’s shadow, determined to stamp his own identity on the game.
"I try to separate myself from that. There are a lot of expectations from a lot of people who want me to be like my brother. But I just try to be myself and play my own game and make a name for myself.”
With an SG Ball Premiership with the Penrith Panthers in sight just over a fortnight ago, a cruel knee injury forced Jennings to watch an ultimately heartbreaking Grand Final loss to Balmain from the sidelines.
“Everything is going pretty well. It’s probably up to eight weeks until I’ll be back. I’m hoping to get back for the boys to play GIO Cup around finals time.”
Jennings may just get his wish after Patrician Brothers produced an electrifying performance on the opening day of the 2013 GIO Schoolboy Cup.
The Blacktown side displayed their depth by scoring a resounding 86-0 win over Farrer without their Panthers superstar and four other first team regulars. But Jennings expects tougher contests later in the competition.
“There’s a lot of tough teams out there especially the sports schools like Hills and Westfields. Hopefully I can be back for those games.”