Jennings: I didn't want to let the team down
Test centre Michael Jennings' first run in blue and gold may have ended with a win and himself on the try-scorer's sheet but the man himself is just happy he didn't let his new mates down in defence.
Jennings looked sharp with several touches and was the beneficiary of a sublime pass from Corey Norman to score his team's second try, but was also a man on a mission in defence.
He slid well with his outside man, Semi Radradra, with Norman on his inside, and lined up a few Panthers in defence – notably halfback Peter Wallace, who wore a big shot from the former Roosters and Panthers three-quarter.
"I was a bit nervous at the start," Jennings told NRL.con after the 22-8 win.
"New team and new boys so I just didn't want to let them down. When you've got to gain the respect of the players you've got to do your bit off the field and you've got to do your bit on the field. I was a bit nervous and I'm glad I got the game out of the way."
Asked if the try helped settle those nerves Jennings said: "Yeah the try helps but I think the main focus for myself is getting the defence combination right with Semi and Normy and I think we've done a great job so far but there's a lot to improve on.
"It's something that we spoke about before going into the game and to execute that, you do what you say so that's a positive that we can take out of that."
Jennings said there was no doubt the attacking structures would come naturally once the side had played together more.
"What we could control was our effort. We could control our defence and the main focus really was defence and that's what we wanted to do," he said.
"There's still a lot to improve on, we let two tries in so I think we'll go back and look at the drawing board after that."
Jennings also wasn't getting carried away by the chance to form a destructive edge with try-scoring ace Semi Radradra.
"He's been great and the attacking stuff will come. We've just got to work on our defence for the time being. We'll work more on it and see how it goes," Jennings added.
"It was good to get the first hit-out now so I can look at what I need to improve on and work on the combinations with Corey and Semi so there's a lot to improve on and I'm just looking forward to the first round."