12 Jun 2018

Rugby League: Simon Mannering retires from Kiwis

4:11 pm on 12 June 2018

Veteran forward and former Kiwis captain Simon Mannering has announced his retirement from international rugby league, but his future with the Warriors remains up in the air.

Mannering, 31, who has played 45 tests for New Zealand, is the fourth most-capped Kiwis player, behind only Ruben Wiki, who played 55 tests, and Gary Freeman and Stacey Jones, who played 46 matches.

Mannering said his decision came after talking about his future with new Kiwis coach Michael Maguire ahead of the side's upcoming test against England in Denver.

"I've had this on my mind for a while," said Mannering.

"The idea of taking a Test to the United States is really exciting for the game, but I think it's a good time for younger players to be given every opportunity."

Simon Mannering and the Kiwis celebrate their 2014 Four Nations win.

Simon Mannering and the Kiwis celebrate their 2014 Four Nations win. Photo: Photosport

Mannering has spent all 14 years of his professional career with the Warriors, playing 288 games for the side after making his debut in 2005 and is still contemplating his NRL future.

He was a long-time captain of the Warriors and also led the Kiwis during his 45-test career.

His contract with the Warriors finishes at the end of this season and retirement from the NRL is also on the cards.

"I was honoured to wear the Kiwi jersey every time and it's been a huge privilege having the chance to play alongside so many outstanding players. It was also a special honour to captain my country."

Mannering made his Kiwis debut in 2006 at the Tri Nations tournament playing in every game of the series and was named Kiwis Rookie of the Year.

In 2008, Mannering was named in the Kiwis Rugby League World Cup squad scoring two tries in their second match against Papua New Guinea.

His Kiwis career highlight came when New Zealand was victorious at the 2008 World Cup beating the Kangaroos 34-20.

He assumed the captaincy from Benji Marshall and led the Kiwis at the 2013 World Cup and at the 2014 Four Nations.

In 2014, he was named Kiwis Player of the Year.

Maguire said he looked forward to Mannering having an on-going involvement with the Kiwis as a mentor and knowledgeable leader of the game.

"His leadership has developed and mentored a lot of young and up-and-coming players not only at club level, but at international level too. He has also left his own legacy on the new generation of Kiwi players coming through.

"Sometime down the track, I hope to work alongside Simon as his knowledge and expertise as a Kiwi international will be highly beneficial in and around the squad," Maguire said.

Ben Matulino

Ben Matulino Photo: Photosport

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney, who also played 45 Tests, said Mannering's retirement was a selfless decision.

"This decision emphasises once again how he always puts others before himself," said Kearney, who has indicated he won't select players for the round 16 match against Cronulla if they play in Denver.

Forwards Ben Matulino Russell Packer - who are both playing for the West Tigers in the NRL - have also announced their retirement from international play

Matulino's seven-year Kiwis career saw him saw him play 23 tests, while Packer played seven.

Matulino, 29, would have been a strong Denver contender following a resurgent season at the Tigers.

His reasons for retirement are believed to be to spend more time with a young family.

Packer's eligibility for the US Test was in doubt because of his criminal record, having been jailed for a year in 2014 for assault.