Penrith Panthers centre Michael Jennings insists he can handle the pressure of the Four Nations final after grabbing a debut hat-trick in the demolition of France.
The 21-year-old bagged the first two tries of the game to set the Kangaroos on course for a comfortable win in Paris.
Jennings, Panthers Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year in 2007, completed his hat-trick as Australia hammered home their advantage in the second-half.
And after missing out on a place at the 2008 World Cup, Jennings admits he’s desperate to play a part in next week’s showpiece.
“I’ve did my bit with my tries and I was really happy with the way I played but now it’s up to the coach,” said Jennings.
“I was pleased, obviously the team performance wasn’t as good as we would have wanted it to be but a debut hat-trick is pretty special.
“A few guys were given a chance and I think it wasn’t just me who made the most of it.
“As a team we weren’t great in the first-half but I don’t think anybody let themselves down in the second-half.
Jennings crosses twice five minutes
“We weren’t flying by any measures but we were clinical and that is ultimately what you’re after.”
The French held out for 22 minutes before Jennings crossed twice in the space of five minutes to set the Kangaroos on course for a comfortable win.
Luke Lewis went over to score shortly after the break with Brett Morris grabbing two tries in five minutes to hammer home the Australian advantage.
And although Olivier Elima grabbed a consolation score for France, Jennings registered his third try of the game before Josh Morris crossed twice to match his twin brother’s haul.
But after the disappointment of the World Cup final, coach Tim Sheens called on his side to step up another gear in next weekend’s final.
Sheens wants side to step up
“We were ok, we got the win and we scored some tries but I don’t think we really got going,” said Sheens.
“In the first-half we were too sloppy and there were too many times where we knocked-on or we dropped the ball or we missed the pass.
“I made it clear at the break that I wasn’t happy with the way we were playing and I asked them to go out and play like an Australian team should.
“To be fair to the players they improved but I still don’t think we really found our true level and that is something we’ll have to rectify next week.
“I don’t think whoever we play we’ll be able to play like that and win.
“No disrespect to France but just because we did enough to beat them it doesn’t mean we did enough to satisfy me.
“I think Michael Jennings played well and when it comes to picking my team that will be in my thoughts.”