It seemed never a question if Michael Jennings would be leaving Penrith.
It was a question of when.
After much speculation the Penrith centre severed ties with his local club last week and signed with the Sydney Roosters for the next four years.
On Monday, January 14, Jennings was at Penrith training, on Wednesday he was at Roosters’ headquarters decked out in his new red, white and blue colours.
If a week is a longtime in politics it’s even longer in the NRL.
Salary cap pressures, rumours that Jennings didn’t see eye-to-eye with Panthers general manager Phil Gould, and constant speculation that with a year to go on his contract he wouldn’t see it out.
Jennings, 24, has played for NSW and Australia. The lightning quick back played 122 games in the NRL for Penrith. He had also been fined in recent seasons for disciplinary isues regarding alcohol by the Panthers.
And his departure before a ball has been kicked, means the class footballer is now in Roosters’colours.
Panthers coach Ivan Cleary will now have to find another centre option and the club has also lost goalkicking winger and speedster Michael Gordon and lock and skipper Luke Lewis to Cronulla.
There is certainly a ‘‘seachange’’ at Penrith.
Coach Cleary together with Gould have shed some playing talent feeling the place needed a shake up and to also sort out their salary cap issues.
Jennings was on reportedly $600,000 this year. It is understood he has signed a $2 million deal at the Roosters for the next four years. Penrith and the Roosters came to confidential financial arrangements with it understood, they are paying for $250,000 of the first year of his contract at the Roosters in 2013.
The Panthers do have 14 new faces in their squad in 2013.
Cleary is aiming longterm with his team. He’s prepared to have short term pain for a long term gain with insiders stating 2014 is expected to a regurgent season.