Vatuvei is a Warriors legend
He might not be the best player to ever put on a New Zealand Warriors' jersey, but Manu Vatuvei might just be the most important.
In the build up to the giant winger's 200th Telstra Premiership appearance this weekend, his teammates and coach spoke candidly about just what the man they call 'Siana' means to them and the club.
"When you think of the Warriors you think of Manu," five-eighth Chad Townsend said.
"He epitomises what the Warriors are and to play at such a high level for a long period of time and get 200 games at one club is not easy.
"He gets targeted a lot but he runs incredibly hard and I am just happy I get to pass the ball to him and don't have to tackle him."
This Saturday's game against the Wests Tigers at Mt Smart Stadium will see Vatuvei join club legend Stacey Jones and current captain Simon Mannering as the only players to clock up a double century of games for the Warriors.
And it's unlikely to be the only significant milestone the 29-year-old Kiwi international will reach over the next month, requiring just three tries to surpass Nigel Vagana as the most-prolific Kiwi try scorer in NRL history.
Already this season Vatuvei has three tries, three line breaks and has run for over 100 metres in every game, making him the highest yardage earner in the Kiwi side in 2015.
But coach Andrew McFadden said the on-field contribution is only part of the package when it comes to big Manu.
"It's hard to express in words the impact that Manu has had on the club," McFadden said.
"He is an incredible leader, he leads with his actions and off the field he is a character and a good person to have around for the light-hearted moments.
"I guess in that regard he helps the players know how to switch on and switch off.
"It's a great milestone and I hope we can perform well for him.
"I think arguably he is in his best form right now. His impact in the team is clear with way he carries the football.
"Defensively he has been really solid and his composure is getting better and better as he gets older."
As for the man himself, Vatuvei was as humble as ever, shifting the praise on to the club and his teammates.
"The club has been really good to me and really loyal. They have made everything really good for myself and my family and I am really happy," Vatuvei said.
"I am just lucky and blessed that the club had a lot of confidence in me and that I can still do the job and fit the picture of what they like to see.
"It will just feel the same as all the other games, but it will be a special moment having all my family there to support me.
"I know the boys will play their hearts out and I will definitely do the same."
Meanwhile as negotiations continue to keep him at the Warriors beyond this year, Vatuvei hinted that he still has unfinished business at the club saying "the dream is still there, the fire is still burning," in regards to bringing a premiership to Auckland.
Warriors managing director Jim Doyle also confirmed the club will do whatever they can to re-sign him.
"He has been an icon at the club right from the start and we are working with his manager at the moment to hopefully have him here for longer," Doyle said.