Papali'i credits Mannering for steady improvement
He might be 275 NRL games his senior, but Simon Mannering has an open door policy when it comes to helping rising star Isaiah Papali'i.
The 19-year-old has been preferred by coach Stephen Kearney in the starting line up over Mannering several times this season already.
But the pressure of starting ahead of the club's most capped player doesn't phase Papali'i, who says the man he has usurped deserves a lot of the credit for his improved all around game.
"We catch up each week, Simon helps me tweak things that he can see in my game and I just try to ask questions and absorb all he knows," he said.
"He's open to anything and really approachable so it's been great to be able to lean on him. Starting ahead of him, it's not added pressure for me.
"Everyone has a role whether you're on the bench or starting it's all the same. We expect everyone to do their jobs regardless."
James Gavet, who used to baby sit Papali'i some 15 years ago, says the edge forward's willingness to listen and learn is what separates him from other young stars in the junior ranks.
"He's still really humble and I think that's what's best about him is he's just a big, smiling sponge, soaking up everything he can from the senior guys like Simon," Gavet said.
"He's growing week in week out, on and off the field. He surprises me every week out on the pitch.
"He's always been a little nugget, he lifts a lot in the gym and I think he was some junior weightlifting champion back in the day so physically, he's always been a real strong thing."
Kearney has named Mannering to start and Papali'i on the bench for this Saturday's clash with South Sydney, though has swapped the pair prior to kick-off on more than one occasion this year.