Captain Resilient: Simon Mannering's milestones

DAVID LONG
Last updated 05:00 30/05/2014
Simon Mannering
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ
LONG HAUL: Simon Mannering, left, pictured training with the Warriors in 2005.

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When Simon Mannering started his first game for the Warriors, playing on the wing in 2005, few would have expected him to go down as one of the most significant players in the club's history.

Yet on Sunday against the Knights he'll reach two milestones, making his 200th NRL appearance and captaining the club for the 100th time.

The 27-year-old has never been one to talk himself up, or enjoy being in the spotlight, but this week he couldn't avoid being the centre of attention ahead of the team's first game at Mt Smart Stadium this season.

"I guess it's something more that you look back on when you finish playing," Mannering said about his two impending achievements.

"Obviously I'll savour the moment, it's been a privilege to have the chance to play that many games for the club.

"I've got the family coming up so it will be a proud day for them.

"It's still an important game and I definitely want to get the two points from our first game back here [at Mt Smart Stadium].

"I won't have too many fond memories of it if we don't perform well and get a win. So the main focus is on that and I'll think about the other stuff afterwards."

In the 199 games Mannering has played for the Warriors they've won 98, lost 98 and drawn three. During that time he and the club have gone through great highs and lows.

Last year's 62-6 defeat to the Eels has to be one of the lowest points for both him and the Warriors, but there have also been the four years where he's got to play finals footy and those seasons contain the most memorable moments for him.

"I definitely have trouble looking back on the games. I guess the main ones that stick out are probably the finals success we've had, the run to the Grand Final and also that win in Melbourne [in the 2011 preliminary final], that was a pretty proud day," he said.

Mannering took over from Steve Price as Warriors captain in 2010 and has matured in the role, evolving as a better leader while still being able to improve his own game.

"Hopefully I've improved over the years and changed for the better," he said.

"You're never the finished product and I've still got things to work on as a player and a captain. That's what you play footy for, to always improve and I want to improve in those two areas."

But as captain, one of the issues he'll have to watch out for on Sunday is complacency from his team-mates.

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The Knights have lost four games on the bounce, while the Warriors have been solid for the past month.

While the Knights are one place off the bottom of the ladder, they did come close to defeating the Sea Eagles in their last game, only going down to a Daly Cherry-Evans field goal in the last minute.

There have also been problems with players not getting paid on time and battles over the ownership of the club.

"They've obviously had some issues in the last month or so, but as we saw against Manly, when they get on the field they bar up," Mannering said.

"They probably should have got the win there and that's no easy feat.

"It's going to be a tough one, because they'll be looking to prove a point and we've got to match that, rise above it and tidy up the areas we have to, because if we don't that's going to cost us one of these weeks."

- Stuff

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