Facing an anxious wait: Michael Jennings. Photo: Brendan Esposito Celebrating his greatest Origin performance may be Michael Jennings’ undoing with the NSW centre’s place in the squad in question after his arrest in Parramatta on Saturday morning.
It is understood Jennings was basking in his man-of-the-match honours – he also received the game ball from his NSW teammates – with family on Friday night.
Privately the Roosters are fuming and coach Trent Robinson is said to be extremely disappointed with his star centre. It is likely Jennings will be stood down from the club’s game against St George Illawarra on Monday night for drinking two days before a game.
Jennings’ night out may have further ramifications: his place in the Origin side is in doubt, judging by coach Laurie Daley’s hardline stance against players who run foul of the law.
Daley told Fairfax Media he would not comment until he had all the relevant facts and had spoken with Jennings.
If recent indiscretions are anything to go by, Jennings has an anxious wait until he learns if he retains his place in the Blues side for the series decider on July 8.
Daley has shown little patience with players not showing respect for the Blues jersey.
Jennings’ club teammate Mitchell Pearce was banished from last year’s Origin after he was arrested in Kings Cross and given an infringement notice for failing to leave a licensed premises.
Drink driving cost James Tamou a NSW appearance in 2013. Both players were part of the NSW team that beat Queensland on Wednesday night.
It is understood Jennings’ partner messaged him to come home. Fairfax Media understands Jennings reacted verbally when police confronted a companion.
Police were patrolling a car park at Erby Place when they “saw a man kicking a boom gate”. “As they walked up to him, another man approached the officers allegedly in an aggressive manner,” a police statement said.
“The man, aged 27, was arrested and taken to Parramatta Police Station. [He] was issued with a field court attendance notice for hindering police and offensive behaviour, to appear at Parramatta Local Court on Monday, July 20.
“The other man, aged 19, allegedly kicked the boom gate and was later issued with a criminal infringement notice for offensive behaviour.”
Jennings’ younger brother Robert, who plays for Penrith, was also out but it is understood he was not drinking and did not fall foul of the law.
Jennings, 27, is expected to meet with Roosters officials on Sunday. The Roosters had Saturday off before their final training run on Sunday ahead of Monday’s game.
Roosters chief executive Brian Canavan said the club was investigating the incident.
“We were made aware of an incident [on Saturday morning],” Canavan said. “We have made contact with the player and his manager and have passed it on to the NRL’s integrity unit.”
Canavan said “no decision” had been made regarding Jennings’ availability for Monday’s game.
If Jennings is dumped from the Blues side, South Sydney’s Dylan Walker or Jennings’ Roosters teammate Blake Ferguson may come into the side.
Ferguson’s inclusion – because of someone else’s indiscretion – would cap a remarkable return to favour for the 25-year-old, who has not played for NSW since being axed for an indecent assault charge in 2013.
Jennings appears to have turned his career around since joining the Roosters in 2013 from Penrith.
He had a turbulent end to his career at the Panthers. In 2011 he had to distribute 2000 tickets to Panthers fans at half-time – costing him more than $20,000 – after turning up to training drunk.
He was also charged with driving while unlicensed in 2010 and brawled with former teammate Masada Iosefa during Jennings’ 21st birthday celebrations.
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