Jennings commits to Tonga over Blues
Michael Jennings is set to finish his decorated representative career in red after confirming he'll follow Andrew Fifita's path and help lead Tonga in their Pacific Test match against Samoa on June 23 at Campbelltown.
In another showing of commitment following the nation's recent international success, Jennings rated the World Cup experience ahead of every representative fixture he's played in for both NSW and Australia.
"My focus now is Tonga," Jennings said on Wednesday.
"I'd love to play Origin but made the decision I wanted to stay after the World Cup.
"To see how much passion and the feel, personally for me every time I put an Australian jersey or New South Wales jersey on, it never compared to putting on the Tongan jersey, just how much passion and how much it meant to my family.
"When we played against Samoa, it was an intense game. The atmosphere was humbling, the vibe was all positive. An unbelievable experience for me. I can't explain it. That experience has changed everyone's minds. The effect that it had with the fans and younger generation."
At 30 and already with Telstra Premiership, World Cup and Origin series success under his belt, Jennings' words are great news for the international game.
But that's not the only thing that the Blacktown junior has on his mind.
Rabbitohs winger and brother Robert recently told NRL.com last month that he, Michael and other brother George were eager to play together before Michael retires.
With each sibling off contract at season's end, the odds of the trio reuniting over the next few years was a possibility with George stringing together five consecutive appearances for Parramatta in 2018.
While Robert was content in the knowledge it may happen at park footy level, Michael went one step further, indicating his younger brothers were on the radar of the Tongan coaching staff.
"We've spoken about playing club level together," Michael said.
"I spoke to Woolfy [Tongan coach Kristian Woolf] and he was speaking to me about Robert. He was close to playing last year in the World Cup but he had an injury. He's watching George as well.
"I'm loving [playing alongside George at Parramatta], just where he's come from through injury and almost giving up the game. It makes me sad thinking about it.
"What he's gone through to get where he is now is unbelievable. It's hard when expectations are on him to play like me or Robert. He's a totally different player. He trained and worked hard, I'm so happy for him.
"It would be amazing if we could."