Jennings braces for family affair against Eels brothers
It will be a bizarre feeling for South Sydney winger Robert Jennings when he walks onto ANZ Stadium on Thursday and seeing not one but two brothers directly opposite him in the Parramatta line.
Eels centre Michael Jennings brings up the 250th game of a storied career that also includes seven Tests each for Tonga and Australia plus 18 Origins for NSW and a 2013 grand final win with the Roosters.
However, the 30-year-old's two younger brothers are much less experienced - 25-year-old George has battled back from a series of major injuries to finally get a chance and grab it with both hands at the Eels this year while 22-year-old Robert has evolved into a genuine first-grader over the past two seasons at Redfern.
Limited opportunities for the younger two means Thursday's game is the first time Robert and George have featured in the same NRL game.
"Parra are obviously not where they want to be but they'll be hungry coming off a solid win against the Cowboys so it's going to be a really tough one – especially coming up against my brothers!" Robert laughed when asked by NRL.com how he was preparing for the Eels.
"I'm on George and Michael's side so there's going to be a bit of talk out there. I came up against Michael last year but never came up against them both so it's a first.
Robert admitted it would be a relief this week that he doesn't live at the family home in Sydney's west with the other two, but anticipated the intra-family banter could ramp up as the game drew closer.
"I just have to shut all that out and go out there and do my job and just get the two points. When you're on the field it's business," he added.
He was, however, incredibly proud of the way George had battled back from a series of injuries to be one of the struggling Eels' most consistent players this year.
In last weekend's win over the Cowboys, the middle Jennings racked up a match-high 22 runs with a try, 180 metres and seven tackle busts.
"Georgie's doing really well. The team's not where they want to be but George has really worked hard to get a spot and he's been trying to get a spot for quite a while now so for me as a brother I'm very proud seeing him up there. But hopefully I get over him this weekend," Robert added.