Milestone Mannering gives Warriors edge

After his side rolled over the top of the Newcastle Knights to record their fourth victory in their last five games, Warriors coach Andrew McFadden said captain Simon Mannering had made all the difference.

Playing in a rare double milestone, where he clocked up 200 NRL games and 100 as captain, Mannering was the best player on the field at Mt Smart Stadium.

The 27-year-old back-rower, who entered the field through a guard of honour, ran for 130 metres, made 23 tackles and scored two first-half tries in the 38-18 victory.

“Simon’s contribution, he really led the way today and it is a real credit to him and his preparation that he can put all of that to the side and still play the way he does every week,” McFadden said.

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As the sides warmed up pre-match, the Warriors shared a video tribute to Mannering, which featured numerous NRL stars, past and present, detailing their admiration for the Kiwi international.

Even in his 200th first-grade game he was still managing to throw up some new tricks for the 19,068 fans in attendance to admire.

Usually a player renowned for being reliable rather than remarkable, Mannering’s grubber and re-gather try received one of the loudest cheers of the match.

A 47th career touchdown a minute from the break set the scene for a fairytale night, with the rest of his team playing their part in the big win against a stubborn Newcastle outfit.

“I have had a few bad experiences kicking the footy, but that one thankfully came off,” Mannering laughed.

“It was nice to get over the line – I don’t get over too often.

“It has been a nice week, the boys have been really good and so has Cappy (McFadden), but the focus was always on the game and getting the job done there first.

“It was nice to reflect on that milestone after the game.”

Earlier this year Mannering, who is the only player to have won the club’s NRL Player of the Year award on three occasions, surpassed Steve Price for most games as Warriors captain.

And having re-signed with the club until the end of the 2018 season, looks set to overtake Stacey Jones (261 games) as the most-capped Warriors player in history.

Despite Mannering being one of the main factors in the Knights downfall, Newcastle coach Wayne Bennett was full of praise for the man he worked with in the 2008 World Cup victory with the Kiwis.

“He has been a wonderful player and is a great guy to work with,” he said.

“He has great respect, he brings his best every week.”

Meanwhile, the Warriors came through the match without any significant injuries worries and should be at full strength heading into Saturday’s clash with the Rabbitohs in Perth.