Robert Jennings scores a try for South Sydney.

Robert Jennings steps out of his brother's shadow

For as long as South Sydney Rabbitohs winger Robert Jennings can remember, the expectation of performing like older brother Michael has always been there.

From junior rugby league through to the Telstra Premiership, Robert admits he struggled with the weight of expectation to burst onto the scene in the same manner the Parramatta Eels centre did in 2007.

Robert's relationship with Michael is a simple one according to the Rabbitohs winger. Although the pair hardly speak – particularly about rugby league  – they have a typical family relationship in which the older brother looks after the younger sibling.

When Robert's name came under the spotlight when a night out in Parramatta turned sour with Michael arrested on police charges for hindering police and offensive behaviour in 2015, the immediate concern was for the one-time State of Origin representative.

"I wasn't fearful for myself or my career at the time because all the focus that came out of that was on him," Robert told NRL.com.

"He was established and I was more worried about him. He'd just played an Origin game and was at the peak of his career. We definitely both learned some things from it."

Penrith cut ties with both Robert and another sibling, George, at the end of the 2016 season, ending more than a 15-year affiliation with the family from Quakers Hill.

The pressure to be like Michael had affected Robert's game more than he understood, and he knew a change was required.

"I always thought I was going to stay at Penrith until the end of my career but I learned the hard way," Robert said.

"That pressure has always been there and living up to the expectations of what he's done. That's always been something I've struggled with. I'm fine now doing my own thing and trying to make a name for myself, I guess.

"I spoke to Madge [former Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire], we had a meeting and he said he wanted me for me. I was scared at first, being young. He gave me the confidence. Looking back now it was the best thing for me to get out of my comfort zone. I matured and grew up.

"I love what South Sydney has to offer and the culture here. It took a while to get used to the Eastern Suburbs but I've adapted to that now."

While the Jennings trio are at different stages of their NRL careers, Robert hasn't given up hope of reuniting his family on the paddock in the future.

The 22-year-old admitted to feeling "jealous" as he watched George line up alongside Michael for Parramatta on Easter Monday.

"I'm a bit filthy George got to play with Michael before me, that's something I want to do in the future," Robert said.

"Hopefully one day us three can play [together]. Club level I guess, obviously there will be different reasons with contracts and that, that's the tough thing.

"But I don't care whether it be after footy playing local club stuff at the Michinbury Jets, that would tick off the goals."

Robert Jennings has been dynamic for the Bunnies on the wing.
Robert Jennings has been dynamic for the Bunnies on the wing. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

The likelihood of the trio playing together at South Sydney is unlikely with Australian internationals Dane Gagai and Greg Inglis in the centre positions at Redfern.

So how is it supposed to happen that the brothers could possibly all play at the Rabbitohs?

Will family loyalty or GI win out?

"Oh, don't put that onto me … no comment, I can't really say," Robert laughs.

"Michael is packing [weight] on. It's been a while since I've seen him make a line break. We've got a good backline so it would be hard for him [to win a spot]."