Enjoyment key in Mannering decision
Outgoing Warriors captain Simon Mannering hopes relinquishing the role will help him get back to fully enjoying his rugby league.
After six seasons leading the New Zealand side Mannering announced on Wednesday that this weekend's trial match against the Dragons in Nelson will be his last as skipper before handing over to experienced second-rower Ryan Hoffman.
Mannering stated burnout and some loss of enjoyment for the game as key reasons behind his shock decision.
"Obviously it's been a hard couple of seasons performance wise, but in all honesty it's probably not the playing side of it, just the extra commitment outside of football that probably wore me down a bit," 29-year-old Mannering said.
"If I could just lead the team out every week I would keep the role for sure, but that's not the case and I was probably losing a bit of enjoyment there so I thought it was best that I move on.
"I'm hoping that it freshens me up a little bit having less commitments outside of footy.
"There probably will be (a weight off my shoulders) once we start getting into Round 20 and deep into the season."
During his tenure as captain Mannering guided the club through some rough periods, with a turnover of five different coaches, a well-publicised battle between the club's joint owners and a change of leadership at the top with Jim Doyle taking over as managing director.
On the field the Warriors also struggled, making the finals only once when they went down to Manly in the 2011 decider.
Coach Andrew McFadden said those factors made the role even more challenging for Mannering, and ultimately hindered him on the field at times.
"What he has had to endure as a captain over the years – the changeover of key personnel, key leadership people – he has had to endure all that," McFadden said.
"It's probably taken its toll over the years.
"I obviously saw at the end of last year how much it was taking a toll on Simon and that's what prompted discussions at the end of the year (about the role).
"You have a look at him now and he is feeling good about his game, he is feeling healthy, and I think him standing down as captain is only going to take a little bit more pressure off and allow him to play his best footy."
Hoffman, 32, is the most experienced player at the club, having played 263 Telstra Premiership matches, and the obvious choice to replace Mannering according to McFadden.
Mannering will finish his time as Warriors captain by leading the team out in front of his hometown crowd, having spent most of his childhood in Nelson.