Veteran back rower Simon Mannering has announced his retirement from international rugby league.
Having represented the Kiwis in 45 Tests since his 2006 debut, the 31-year-old said the time was right to step aside.
“Going into the World Cup last year I sort of had it in the back of my mind that it would be my last campaign playing for the Kiwis,” says Mannering.
“It still doesn’t make it an easy decision to make it official even though my days of being selected in the team are getting behind me.”
Mannering finishes with 45 tests, fourth-equal on the Kiwis’ all-time list with Stephen Kearney and Adam Blair behind Ruben Wiki at 55 and Stacey Jones and Gary Freeman, both on 46.
“There have been so many great memories along the way like being involved in the World Cup win in 2008 and also the Four Nations victories in 2010 and 2014 but now I want to be able to focus on the Vodafone Warriors who have supported me throughout.”
Vodafone Warriors head coach Stephen Kearney says Mannering has again underlined his selfless attitude with his decision.
“Simon is such a wonderful player and person and he’s had an outstanding career with the Kiwis,” says Kearney, “This decision emphasises once again how he always puts others before himself.”
Mannering is set to play his 290th game when the Vodafone Warriors play North Queensland on Friday night, leaving him on track to become the first player to appear in 300 games for the club.