NRL snubs Michael Jennings of 300 game honours for Roosters vs Newcastle

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The NRL will not give Michael Jennings “official recognition” for his 300th game milestone.

The disgraced footballer is on Thursday night set to become just the 50th player to reach the 300-appearances mark — but NRL boss Andrew Abdo confirmed on Monday morning the Grand Final winner will not receive official honours because of “past conduct”.

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The 35-year-old has made an incredible return to the league after he was banned for three years for taking banned substances while he was with the Eels.

He was last year also ordered to pay his ex-wife Kirra Wilden $500,000 for alleged abuse during their marriage.

Wilden successfully sued the former State of Origin representative in the NSW District Court in 2021, alleging her former husband abused and sexually assaulted her during their relationship.

She alleged Mr Jennings sexually assaulted her on four occasions throughout 2014 and 2015 at the couple’s home in Kensington, and later Bella Vista.

Ms Wilden was awarded $490,000 for personal injuries including post-traumatic stress disorder.

The former football star has continued to deny he ever sexually assaulted his former wife. He has never been charged by police.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Jennings is still yet to make any payment to his former partner.

Leading NRL journalist Danny Weidler first reported on Monday morning Abdo has made the unprecedented call not to acknowledge Jennings’ feat which will be made against the Knights in Newcastle on Thursday.

The decision comes just a few hours after the NRL was warned it would be “a disgraceful look for all women in rugby league” if Abdo presents controversial Jennings with his 300-game ball.

The Daily Telegraph’s Phil Rothfield penned an open letter to Abdo on Monday and then urged the NRL boss against travelling to Newcastle.

“I’m really worked up about this one and I’ve written an open letter to Andrew Abdo urging him not to go to Newcastle to present the 300-game ball to Michael Jennings, as he does with other footballers who reach that milestone,” Rothfield said on Big Sports Breakfast at 7:15am on Monday.

“It has nothing to do with his drugs suspension, he did his time and on that basis is back in the NRL.

“However, there is a massive, massive integrity issue here around a civil court case in 2021 where he was found guilty of sexually assaulting his ex-wife, not once but four times. He appealed, which is his right, but lost as a second court upheld the decision.

“Jennings was ordered to pay his ex-partner, who had to give up work, she was so shattered by what had happened, he was ordered to pay his ex-wife $500,000 in damages.

“He has not paid back one cent of that money and this is a disgraceful look for all women in rugby league if Andrew Abdo travels up there and presents the game ball to him under these circumstances.

“I’m different with people like Curtis Scott, people will say what about Curtis Scott? Curtis Scott for his domestic violence was given a 12-month community corrections order which he served. He’s done his time.

“Michael Jennings has not done what the court told him to do. I’ve read all the court evidence, it is quite horrific and I feel really, really sick about the NRL being in Newcastle to honour his 300th game.”

Roosters coach Trent Robinson said last month he wanted Jennings, who scored a famous try for the Roosters in the 2013 grand final, to reach the milestone while helping the former Penrith player get his life back together.

“There’s a desire to rewrite his story,” Robinson said.

“It’s pretty simple for me that there was a carrot there to get his life and career back on track and that was himself but also through the Roosters.

“I didn’t feel like he was done, he didn’t feel like he was done, but he’s had to work for it. That’s come with high-quality training and then some really good performances in reserve grade.

“He’s been a Rooster, he’s done some things on the field that we need to thank him for. It’s time to finish his career in the right way and rewrite it as it should’ve been.”

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