Incumbent NSW centre Michael Jennings admits he has a battle on his hands to hold his spot in the Blues State of Origin line-up ahead of Jarryd Hayne.
Michael Jennings says he has a fight on his hands to keep his NSW State of Origin spot against the challenge being laid down by Jarryd Hayne.
The Sydney Roosters’ star is under pressure from Hayne to retain his centre spot for the Origin opener in Brisbane on May 28, after the Parramatta’s fullback’s sensational efforts for Australia in the position at last year’s World Cup.
Jennings has been solid, if not spectacular, for the Roosters over the opening eight rounds of the NRL.
He starred in the tricolours’ charge to the NRL premiership last season and scored one of the great interstate tries in NSW’s Origin I win last year.
But with Josh Morris certain to be picked as one of the Blues’ centres, Jennings says he needs two more big NRL games to cement his spot before NSW coach Laurie Daley announces his side on May 20.
“There’s Josh Morris and Haynesy’s in the mix there,” Jennings said on Tuesday.
“But I’ve played there before and, if I play these next two games and play well, I’d like to see myself in that position.
“But who knows?
“Hayne played centre in the Oz team last year and he’s a quality player so, if he gets picked there, he gets picked there.
“I can’t argue with that; whatever they go with is their decision.
“These two games are important for myself pushing for that position.
“You would want to pick on form and I want to be playing my best footy coming up to Origin.
“I don’t want to be picked on past performances – I want to be picked on my form.”
The 10-match NSW veteran suffered the recurrence of an ankle injury late in the Roosters’ Anzac Day triumph over St George Illawarra, but Jennings said he would be fit to play the Wests Tigers at Allianz Stadium on Friday in round-nine NRL action.
“I did a full session yesterday, the ankle was fine and I should be right for Friday,” he said.
“It didn’t bother me once so I will be sweet.
“I did it once in 2010 and it has been a problem since then.
“When I did it, I was lucky I didn’t injure it further.”
Jennings said he might require cleanout surgery on the injury at season’s end.