Mannering, Lillyman sign on with NZ Warriors
DAVID LONG AND AARON LAWTON
Simon Mannering and Jacob Lillyman have committed their futures to the Warriors in what is the only piece of good news to come out of the club this week.
Mannering and Lillyman were two of the highest profile players coming off contract at the end of the season and recently Mannering confirmed he was considering moving on.
However, today the club have announced that both will continue their time in Auckland with Mannering signing for another four years and Lillyman for three.
In a week where the Warriors suffered an embarrassing loss, axed their head coach and a war of words erupted between the club's owners, the re-signing of the duo will at last give fans something to smile about.
Whether the timing of the announcement was done to appease fans and move things on from the feud between Sir Owen Glenn and Eric Watson is something that can only be speculated on, but it should lift the mood ahead of tomorrow's game against the Bulldogs at Eden Park.
Watson said it was crucial going forward that the Warriors retained Mannering.
"I've spoken at length to Simon," Watson told Fairfax Media.
"Simon has been a real Warrior and he is what typifies what we want to be as a club -tough, uncompromising, turns up every week and leads from the front.
"He travels more metres than nearly anyone in the NRL, makes more tackles - you know the stats.
"He has been very uncertain to the point where I've talked to him many times.
"If Simon were to go it would have given the media a feeding frenzy."
Mannering's agent, Steve Gillis, is sure to have milked the Warriors' crisis for all it was worth to get the most money he could for his client and Watson confirmed Mannering did have large offers from other clubs.
"Simon had many options and with the money in the NRL increasing significantly of late, players like Simon can command large contracts with any team in Australasia," Watson said.
"Simon could have waited and thought about what he wanted to do. Or he could step up now and support his new coach and take any doubt out of the system.
"Doubt is weakness. I believe we will be able to say that Simon's made the right decision."
- Fairfax Media
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