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Eels centre Michael Jennings.

Michael Jennings concedes he got too comfortable last season during Parramatta's toughest time and wants to make amends in possibly his final year at the club, starting against his old side Penrith on Sunday.

The 30-year-old took the first step to redemption in the pre-season by knocking back an offer from Newcastle to see out the final season of a four-year contract he agreed to when joining the Eels in 2016.

Despite playing in every game for the blue and gold last season, Jennings referred to an unhealthy diet and skipping key "one percenters" as factors in his underwhelming form.

"I guess just handling situations differently," Jennings said, when asked what he had learnt from the 2018 season.

"I think I got too comfortable and just thought things would happen. The little extras, little one percent stuff that I used to do I fell away from that. Just relied on talent and things will be right, but they weren't alright last year.

"I think the easy side is the footy stuff for me but it's the off-field stuff that I had to fix up."

The Tongan international said speculation around his future had unsettled him but also delivered a wake-up call he needed.

An honest chat with Eels coach Brad Arthur, who too will enter the 2019 season under pressure to deliver results, was the catalyst for a shift in focus.

Panthers v Eels - Round 1

"Yeah, it was frustrating because, you know, I wanted to stick it out here and I didn't want to leave on bad terms and bad form," Jennings said.

"I wanted to leave on my own terms and yeah that's frustrating to hear that stuff but I got through it.

"I've put in a hard pre-season and really self-reflected on last year and just looking forward to a big one this year."

As part of his turnaround, Jennings has ditched the temptation of junk food.

He highlighted salt and vinegar chips as a personal favourite that he needed to let go.

"Just don't eat crap, that was the thing and being comfortable sitting in front of the television and stop snacking," he said.

"I've been working hard in the gym and have changed my diet and doing all the off-field stuff helping me at training.

"My speed isn't as fast as when I was younger but it's still up there. I'm feeling good."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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