Partner’s name: Kristin
Child’s name: Carter (21 months)
Charity: The Children’s Hospital at Westmead

Michael Jennings has long been regarded as one of rugby league’s premier outside backs since bursting onto the scene with the Panthers back in 2007. Since then, Michael’s career has taken him to the Sydney Roosters, winning a premiership in 2013, and the Parramatta Eels, who are among the favourites for this year’s NRL title. Michael has a decorated representative career playing 18 times for NSW, seven times for the Kangaroos and 12 times for his native Tonga. A prolific try scoring centre, Michael has scored more than 150 tries since his debut. His form and presence remains such that the Eels have recently re-signed him to a new contract, taking him to 2021 – which will be his 15th season in the NRL. The Covid break allowed Michael some time out to spend quality time with son Carter. “We built Carter a cubby house which he loves,” Michael said. “Generally we’ve been able to spend more days together as a family and enjoy the little things in life watching Carter develop as a child. His parter Kristen went onto say says “Being a father has come so naturally for Michael which came as a bit of a surprise because before Carter arrived Michael was always a bit of an introvert! He is very patient when Carter is being a little demon which helps too! Everything is Daddy, Daddy, Daddy or ball.”

Have you found it hard spending time away from Carter during your football commitments? Yes, very hard, but with technology I’m always in contact with them during the day and night. - Michael

How big an inspiration is Carter to your career, do you make a point to involve him as much as possible? Carter is my inspiration and the motivation in my career today. He’s the reason I get up in the morning and strive to be the best I can be every day. I try to involve him in a lot of my footy stuff but with COVID I can’t get him on the field after games anymore so I’m pretty devo about that! - Michael

Has Carter taken a liking to any sports? He likes soccer and can kick a footy. Everything in his life is BALL! - Michael

What’s the best thing about being a dad?
There is a little child depending on you and looking to follow in your footsteps. I am aware everything I do now is going to have an effect on his future and I want him to have the best life possible. - Michael

What is your favourite activity with him? Sleeping in bed with him, if you count that as an activity haha! I love everything we do together to be honest. - Michael

Do you have any memorable moments with him at this stage? Yes, during his first nappy change he weed straight into my face! - Michael

Do you have a favourite family holiday destinations or place you’d like to go in the future? New York - Michael

What makes him such a great father? His bond with our son and how hands on he is. We have a lot of friends going through the journey of parenthood with us and I can say that no one I know is as hands on as Michael. It’s not because he has to be, it’s because he genuinely wants to be. Carter is his whole life and number one priority. He is also definitely the favourite parent! - Kristin

 

Sports Dad of the Year 2020
 
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