Eels tip Jennings to bounce back in NRL

After being dropped to reserve grade and having his Parramatta future questioned, Michael Jennings' teammates expect him to provide a strong response against Newcastle on Friday.

The former Australian and NSW centre paid the price for his recent form amid the side's disastrous season when he was sent to play with NSW Cup side Wentworthville last week.

While the rest of the Eels' NRL squad had the weekend off, Jennings turned out before a smattering of fans at Auckland's North Harbour Stadium, scoring a try in Wentworthville's 30-22 victory.

The 30-year-old Jennings is not off contract with the Eels' until the end of next year but the episode brought his future at the club into question, especially with Sydney Roosters flyer Blake Ferguson arriving next year.

Coach Brad Arthur sent him to reserve grade after he missed five tackles, including a crucial effort on Tim Lafai which led to a try, in the Eels' heartbreaking 20-18 loss to St George Illawarra.

"There were a few weeks there where he probably wasn't impressed with his own performance," said skipper Tim Mannah on Wednesday.

"He looks a bit more like himself now. He's got a bit more confidence in the way he's been training and I'm sure he'll be fine."

Mannah praised Jennings' refusal to sulk and expected him to bounce back after being recalled for the clash with Newcastle at McDonald Jones Stadium.

"He's been all class, the way he's handled the last two weeks speaks volumes about his character and the person he is," Mannah said.

"He handled it really well, he took it on the chin, he went to New Zealand with a good attitude and put in a great performance and he's back in the team this week.

"He's an important part of our team and we look forward to seeing him back for a big game this week."