Mannering good enough for Origin: Barnett
Following Simon Mannering's club-record fourth player of the year award, Kiwis selector Richie Barnett has boldly declared the Warriors captain would be good enough to play State of Origin football.
After a season where Mannering played all 24 games – averaging 93 metres and 30 tackles – Barnett believes the 28-year-old second-rower would be a shoe-in for the Kangaroos and both Origin sides if he was eligible.
"Absolutely, he has [State of Origin] written all over him," said Barnett who spent six seasons playing for the Sharks and Roosters in the 90's.
"In terms of Origin players and Origin characteristics he fits that mould completely.
"Some fit that Origin style of football and some fit Test football, Simon has actually got both, he is an incredible young individual.
"He is probably underrated sometimes from an Australian perspective because he plays for the Warriors. He doesn't get that attention… but as a commentator who watches the games week-in, week-out, and as a Kiwi selector, he is incredible."
Speaking at Tuesday's club awards, former Warriors halfback-turned Holden Cup coach Stacey Jones revealed he regularly shares this message with his Junior Warriors: if you want to be successful just act, train and play like Simon Mannering.
And after clocking up a double milestone of 200 NRL games and 100 as captain in the Round 12 victory over the Newcastle Knights, Mannering has established himself as one of the greatest Warriors of all time in the eyes of Barnett.
"Simon has been probably the most consistent player and most effective tackler in the competition, and has been for some time," Barnett said.
"He is right up there I believe… I reckon he is rated highly, among the top two or three second-rowers in the game."
"He is one of those players who has that ability to do the 'one per centers' in abundance. He does all the tidy up work and has developed as a leader over time.
"He has developed this year more in terms of his attacking ability and that is probably because Andrew McFadden has developed a style of game that has bought his attributes into it.
"Simon is a courageous individual who runs really tight lines and he is bigger than what people think. He has a huge motor on him and is a guy who you want in a side.
"Winning four player of the year awards over the past few years speaks volumes for what he has achieved."
His on-field legacy is clear, and according to outgoing Warriors CEO Wayne Scurrah Mannering's off-field actions are just as admirable.
"I think most players at the club are in awe of him," said Scurrah, who will be proceeded by Jim Doyle as the club's CEO in 2015.
"Off the field he is fantastic… Simon is a person we have never had any issue with whatsoever, he is a fine example of a captain.
"At that start of my time he was on a very small contract – a couple of thousand dollars I think he joined the club on as a junior – and seeing him develop into an NRL player and now Kiwis captain as well is just amazing."
Other major award winners on the night included wingers David Fusitu'a, who took out the rookie of the year award, and Manu Vatuvei who was named club person of the year.