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Leeds Rhinos signing opens door for NRL star’s return following drugs ban

Leeds Rhinos have made some splash signings this off-season, notably the double swoop for Salford Red Devils’ Brodie Croft and Andy Ackers, but one of their earlier NRL signings has opened the door for a former drug cheat to make his return.

Michael Jennings was deep into the prime of his career when he failed a drugs test during the play-offs in 2020, and the centre hasn’t played since after being handed a thee-year ban.

That three-year ban has passed now and aged 35 the centre is keen to have one last dance and go again, something that is now possible per the Daily Telegraph.

The Telegraph reported that Jennings has been signed off on playing by the NRL’s Integrity Unit and would therefore be available for any club to contract.

His last club Parramatta aren’t one of the interested parties but instead another former club is, and that could be down to Leeds Rhinos having poached one of their stars in the position.

The Rhinos announced the signing of centre Paul Momirovski from Sydney Roosters on a two-year deal in early October, leaving the Roosters light at the position.

As such the club are now considering Jennings as an option to replace Leeds’ new man. Jennings formerly played for the Roosters from 2013 to 2015, scoring 41 tries in 71 games.

His career NRL tally stands at 154 tries in 298 games and so should he make it onto the Roosters squad then he may well surpass the 300 game tally.

He’s now linked up with the club on a train and trial deal before being potentially promoted to the team’s 30-man squad, an NRL spokesperson confirming that situation.

“The NRL continues to liaise with the Roosters regarding the conditional registration of the player to a train and trial contract,” an NRL spokesman said.

“The player will be provisionally registered subject to his acceptance of the specific conditions to be imposed on his registration.”

As for Momirovski he’s joined a Rhinos team that look set to have a new level of player in the centres alongside him, with Harry Neman having kicked on massively during England’s three match test series against Tonga.

Momirovski replaces former NRL man Nene Macdonald with the Papua New Guinea international having swapped Leeds for Salford at the end of the 2023 season, signing a mammoth four-year-deal with the club.

The centre joins the Headingley club having won a Grand Final with Penrith Panthers in 2021, and aged 27 he could be set to enter his prime for Rohan Smith’s side.

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