Parramatta Eels part ways with Michael Jennings amid drug probe

Chris Young
·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Michael Jennings and the Parramatta Eels have mutually agreed to part ways as the 33-year-old continues to fight a doping charge. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Michael Jennings and the Parramatta Eels have mutually agreed to part ways as the 33-year-old continues to fight a doping charge. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The Parramatta Eels have parted ways with Michael Jennings, as the 33-year-old centre remains provisionally suspended over an alleged positive drug test last year.

Jennings, who has played for the Eels since 2016, was stood down indefinitely last October after allegedly returning samples positive for banned substances Ligandrol and Ibutamoren.

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The Eeels terminated Jennings' contract in what they said was a mutual arrangement, backing Jennings' plea that he hadn't deliberately taken the banned substances.

The move crucially allows the Eels to free up space under the salary cap, with Jennings one of a number of players to have a 2022 player option yet to be enacted.

The likes of Mitch Moses, Nathan Brown, Blake Ferguson and Ryan Matterson all find themselves in a similar position, however shedding Jennings' reported $400,000 a season deal strengthens their position this off-season.

In a statement, the Eels said the veteran centre had agreed to the deal in order to help the club build for future seasons.

"The Parramatta Eels and Michael Jennings have today agreed to bring to an end the terms of Mr Jennings' playing contract," a club statement read.

"Mr Jennings is the subject of an ongoing process with Sports Integrity Australia (SIA).

"Mr Jennings has been with the Eels since 2016 and based on its experience with Mr Jennings over the last five years, Parramatta does not consider that Mr Jennings would intentionally take performance enhancing substances.

"However, in recognition that the SIA process will take some time to play out, Parramatta and Mr Jennings have agreed to part ways, because Mr Jennings wishes to allow the team to fill his position and have the best 2021 and 2022 seasons possible."

Moses wants NRL title, not big-money deal

The Eels could be further aided by star half-back Mitchell Moses' declaration on Tuesday that he is not chasing a big money deal this off season.

The 26-year-old said he is taking his time to consider all of his options given the next contract he signs will be the most important of his NRL career.

But to him, winning a premiership and being happy is more important than the size of his pay cheque.

"I don't care about money to be honest. It's not about that," he said on Tuesday.

"It's about where I'm going to play my best footy.

"I've played in teams that have lost games and not had the best seasons and I'd rather be happy somewhere playing good footy and winning games than getting money."

Mitchell Moses has given his strongest indication yet that he plans to re-sign with the Parramatta Eels this off-season. (Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images)
Mitchell Moses has given his strongest indication yet that he plans to re-sign with the Parramatta Eels this off-season. (Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images)

It's understood the Broncos have offered Moses a mammoth multi-million dollar offer, but all signs point to the Eels given his current form at he club.

In his fifth season at the club, Moses has developed into one of the NRL's premier halfbacks who is able to control the pace of a game as well as win matches.

He says working with coach Brad Arthur as well Newcastle legend Andrew Johns as a halves consultant has taken his game to a new level.

"I've finally found that balance in my footy where, as a halfback you've got to control the game and not play the big play all the time," he said.

"I'm finding the balance of when to run, when not to run, when the right time is to roll the ball out, and control the game, slow the game down.

"Brad has been a big help in that way for myself in the last couple of years but also Joey has been massive for me in the last two years."

Moses has until round 10 to enact his player option for next year but it's most likely he will sign an extension to stay with the Eels.

With AAP

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