Jennings reaps NRL finals reward with Eels

Michael Jennings (2nd r) scored Parramatta's first try in their elimination final win over Brisbane.
Michael Jennings (2nd r) scored Parramatta's first try in their elimination final win over Brisbane.

Michael Jennings' call to turn down better money and job security at Newcastle has proven the right one as the Parramatta star prepares for his 15th NRL finals appearance.

Jennings will run out on Saturday night in Melbourne as Parramatta's most experienced man in the finals, having reached September with the Sydney Roosters and Penrith.

Rejuvenated in 2019 after a disappointing 2018, Jennings will be rewarded with a new two-year deal that will put him on track to join the NRL's 300-game club.

But the veteran centre could easily have missed Parramatta's resurgence, had he not chosen the then-wooden spooners over a Knights side on the rise last summer.

"It's been really rewarding (staying)," Jennings told AAP.

"It was a tough period back then trying to decide where I was going to be.

"I sat down with (coach) Brad (Arthur) and said I want to stay this year and I'm not going to go anywhere.

"I wanted to back myself to do the job here.

"I just felt there was unfinished business at Parra. I felt I could give more and I still think I could give more.

"I''m happy I stuck to what I wanted to do.

"I backed myself and that's what's satisfying and rewarding; I backed myself that I could deliver for this team."

The 31-year-old has since rung true on his promise to deliver.

His 10 tries for the season are his equal-most since 2014 at the Roosters, while he scored one and set up another in Sunday's 58-0 flogging of Brisbane.

But he said he never entered the year feeling any pressure to secure another deal at Parramatta.

"I wasn't really focusing on getting a contract," he said.

"It was just more backing that I had more to offer. I'm proving that I can give more to this team.

"It's a young team and Brad is still learning a lot of things and I feel like I can help Brad and the team.

"Gutho (Clint Gutherson) is a young captain. Mitch (Moses) is young as well.

"There is just a lot I felt I could offer this team.

"I need to be smart about what I am doing but it was never about contracts.

"I'm happy with where I am."

Australian Associated Press