Panthers No.1 Jennings finally unleashed - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Panthers No.1 Jennings finally unleashed

David Beniuk 19/08/2011 06:40:48 PM Comments (0)

Michael Jennings the fullback will finally be unleashed in Saturday night's NRL clash with the Warriors at Centrebet Stadium.

NSW centre Jennings was named to play his first game in the No.1 jersey last week before he was sent back to the Windsor Wolves in the NSW Cup after turning up at training under the influence of alcohol.

He'll have at least 2000 devoted fans after being forced to fork out more than $40,000 and hand out match tickets at halftime in last week's 32-18 loss to the Wests Tigers.

"He just wants to play well for the players," Panthers coach Steve Georgallis said.

"He feels like he let the players down, the supporters and his family so he's really keyed up for a big game."

Georgallis is hoping Jennings' move will allow his lethal attacking abilities to have greater impact.

In 14 games this year, the 23-year-old has scored just one try for the Panthers.

"One-on-one he's probably the best player in the game so hopefully he can find some cracks in their defence and get us going forward," Georgallis said.

"He's really looking forward to playing fullback, it gets him more involved and obviously every set of six they're kicking downfield he's going to have his hands on the ball."

The sixth-placed Warriors will have their work cut out against an emotion charged Penrith.

The Panthers' last home game of the year will farewell Georgallis (Wests Tigers assistant coach), Petero Civoniceva (Brisbane), Matt Bell (Tigers) and Adrian Purtell (Bradford), while they may also have a point to prove to incoming coach Ivan Cleary.

They will need to improve on a recent record of just one win from their past four against the Warriors at home.

The Aucklanders are wary of what Jennings will bring from fullback, and of what he will be out to prove.

"It'll be interesting how he handles that fullback role, but with his pace and ability he's one player that's definitely going to be an X-factor for them," Warriors assistant Tony Iro said.

"We'll have to really watch him but I suppose at the end of the day we have to just worry about our game, do what we do well and hopefully that will be enough."

The Warriors are also hoping to improve their starts after relying on comebacks to beat Canberra and Newcastle in recent weeks.

"The most pleasing thing out of the last few weeks is that we've been able to turn it round at halftime without needing to look over a video to do it," lock Michael Luck said.

"It proves that we all know how to play and what sort of play gets results.

"We just have to go out and do it from the start and not wait for a kick in the bum at halftime."

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