'Players can't control the cap'

IT'S the salary-cap problem that's got Michael Jennings' future at the club in a bout of highly-publicised doubt.

But Panthers' resilient five-eighth Travis Burns said there's no point stressing about the impact the financial conundrum may have on the playing group because it's out of their hands.

Instead, Burns said the team were directing their energy and concentration into what they were employed to do — play rugby league.

"It's something that's out of the players' control," he said. "We can't control the salary cap and we can't control what the club's done in the past with signing players and how much they're on.

"We're just getting about our job and worrying about playing footy and winning games."

By shedding players such as Jennings — or Michael "Flash" Gordon, who recently announced he's joining the Cronulla Sharks next year — the club can alleviate their crippling salary cap pressure.

Asked whether all players felt welcome at the club, Burns replied: "I can only speak personally and the club's been great to me.

"I've been here three years now and I haven't had any problem with the club.

"Other players don't delve into what's going on with other players. It's not our place to comment so we just worry about training hard and improving and the rest of that stuff we'll leave up to the club."

While the team may not dissect their personal situations with each other, it's not always possible to keep their private issues private.

"There's always something going around. No matter what club you're at there's always a story someone's trying to get," he said. "The amount of stuff written about Jenko in the last while — it's just a different story every day, so what do you believe?

"We don't read much into it. I don't think Jenko does either. We're a pretty tight-knit group of players and we haven't had a real good start to the year so we just worry about having a good finish."

Burns said he was an absolute advocate of Jennings staying at the club.

"100 per cent! He's a great player and a great bloke. He's very close with all the boys, so we'd love to see Jenko stay but that's not in the control of the players. That's something Jenko and the club have to work out themselves," he said.

Beneath the controversy that's engulfed the Panthers in recent weeks lies an embattled season that's begun to show signs of improvement. Having been named on the Panthers' bench in their last two games, Burns said he was determined to regain his No.6 jumper and cement his spot in the team's starting side.

"I like to get in and mix it with the team," he said. "I'm an 80-minute player. I definitely prefer starting and five-eighth is my preferred position so, hopefully, I can keep playing well there."

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