11 Jul 2017

Vatuvei - 'I'm no legend'

6:11 pm on 11 July 2017

The departing Warriors' winger Manu Vatuvei isn't comfortable with the label club legend, despite fellow players and management giving him the title.

Manu Vatuvei

Manu Vatuvei Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Vatuvei who has been at the club since 2004 is moving to Salford in the English Super League.

The 31-year-old has been named in the number five jersey for the last time, although he won't play in the sides match against the Penrith Panthers in Auckland on Friday night.

The Warriors chief executive Jim Doyle says Vatuvei deserves to recognised alongside the likes of Stacey Jones and Simon Mannering.

"Seeing him go was always going to be tough, I said to him over a week ago it's going to an emotional ride when we announce it to the boys - he pulls at the heart strings of everybody.

"The word legend is thrown around a lot but if it sticks on some people Manu has to be one of them, he will be one of the top five players in the clubs history," Doyle said.

He said Manu will be honored at this weeks game in numerous ways, Mount Smart Stadium will be renamed Manu Vatuvei Stadium for Friday's clash and the team will wear his name on their shirts.

Vatuvei said while he's excited at what might lie ahead, leaving the club was one of the hardest he's had to make.

"To be honest i don't see myself as a legend, i'm just lucky to have lasted this long at one club and now i have to hand it over to the younger boys."

Vatuvei said he doesn't have a single great memory from his 13 years at the club but said he will always remember his first time running out in the Warriors jersey.

His contract precludes him from being able to play this weekend but coach Stephen Kearney has named him in an honorary number five jersey.

"He's one of the club's greatest players and we are really looking forward to giving him a fitting send-off on Friday night."

"He won't play but he'll certainly run down the tunnel before kick off one last time," Kearney said.

Meanwhile Solomone Kata and Issac Luke will return to the side for the round 19 clash.

Luke missed his side's round 17 loss to the Sea Eagles in Perth with a shoulder injury while Kata is back after a two-game absence following the death of his brother in Tonga.

1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c)

2 David Fusitu'a

3 Blake Ayshford

4 Solomone Kata

5 Manu Vatuvei*

6 Kieran Foran

7 Shaun Johnson

8 Jacob Lillyman

9 Issac Luke

10 Ben Matulino

11 Bodene Thompson

12 Bunty Afoa

13 Simon Mannering


14 Mafoa'aeata Hingano

15 Sam Lisone

16 James Gavet

17 Ligi Sao

18 Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad

20 Chris Satae

21 Ken Maumalo

22 Jazz Tevaga

24 Mason Lino