Why Jennings still leaves teammates in awe, 250 games on
Big, strong thighs motor Michael Jennings up a football field like few others, and that's what his Parramatta teammates like most about him.
"How good is it? … he's awesome in full flight," Eels centre Brad Takairangi told NRL.com.
"His acceleration – that's his trademark. Seeing him in open space is pretty cool. I hope we make it a special one for him this week because he deserves it."
Jennings celebrates 250 NRL games on Thursday night in the round 15 Telstra Premiership match against South Sydney at ANZ Stadium.
As if that wasn't triumph enough, one of his brothers George will be alongside him on the Eels' right edge, while another brother Robert will be opposing him on the Rabbitohs' left edge.
"He's got a big milestone ahead of him and he gets to play alongside his one brother and against another in the same game," said Eels winger Josh Hoffman. "It's going to be a big occasion for the family."
The oldest Jennings sibling commands respect. He entered first grade as an 18-year-old for Penrith in 2007 and scored a try on debut against the Bulldogs.
"We're about the same age and I was in high school when he was playing first grade," Hoffman said.
"It's just amazing what an achievement that is, let alone all he's done over his career. It's been great to see how a young kid has grown into such a leader."
Jennings made his debut for Australia against France in the 2009 Four Nations and scored a hat-trick on debut.
That was his the first of seven Tests in the green-and-gold before another seven in the red jersey of Mate Ma’a Tonga. Then there was the 18 Origin appearances for NSW.
"I've known Jenko since I was 14 or 15. I have a lot of respect for him," said Eels skipper Tim Mannah.
"To reach 250 means you've been around for a while and the more we should appreciate the milestone. He's been through a lot in his career and there is a lot of class about the way he handles himself.
"He's the kind of person who is highly respected not just from our team but from all teams. To be doing such a big milestone while at the same time two of his brothers are there, that makes it a really special night."
And Mannah's most special memory of 30-year-old Jennings?
"When you see him in space, he just looks different to a lot of other people. He looks like a fast car about to take off. There's a real style about the way he runs. Our club is better for having him. Aura is a great word to describe him," Mannah said.
"Having that kind of guy on our training field just gives everyone around him a lift. He is that kind of player – classy."
And he's still got the speed. He scored his fourth try of the 2018 Telstra Premiership season last weekend in Darwin against the Cowboys - his 135th of his club career.