Simon Mannering picks Australian move over Warriors role

Author
David Skipwith, NZ Herald,
Section
League,
Publish Date
Friday, 23 November 2018, 5:10PM
Mannering will be making the move early next year. (Photo / Photosport)
Mannering will be making the move early next year. (Photo / Photosport)

Plans for retired Warriors legend Simon Mannering to take up an off-field role with the club have been put on hold as he prepares to make a surprise move to Australia early next year.

The ex-Warriors and Kiwis captain made an appearance at Warriors training at Mt Smart Stadium this week but was happy watching on from the sidelines as his former teammates endured a grueling two-hour conditioning and skills session.

The former lock forward was considering joining the club's football staff next year in a mentoring role after calling time on his 301-game NRL career following the Warriors season-ending qualifying final defeat to Penrith in Sydney in September.

The 31-year-old shook his head when asked if he might be second-guessing his decision to hang the boots up and revealed he would not be joining coach Stephen Kearney's staff for the 2019 season.

Mannering has instead decided he needs a change of scenery and will take a well-deserved year-long break across the Tasman with his partner Anna Bensemann and their two children Zeke and Jack.

"I'm going over to Aussie next year and getting away," Mannering revealed.

"100 per cent, I'm not really missing [training]. This time of year is pretty solid, they do some pretty tough stuff. I'm not really motivated to do that right now but the guys are looking pretty sharp.

"We'll head away for a break and see how we go."

The former Warriors and Kiwis captain is looking forward to soaking up plenty of sunshine and spending quality time with his loved ones from their new base in the coastal town of Kingscliff in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales.

The five-time Warriors Player of the Year is still open to working with the club down the line, but wants to focus on his family and put some energy into other areas of his life.

"I just felt like it was probably good to have a break first and then go from there," he said.

"At first I was really keen and then I thought going straight into a full-time role here would probably be a bit too close to what I'd done for the last 14 years.

"It would be the same routine. It's a cool environment to work in but probably just for my family, to have a break and get away (would be good).

"So I'll go and have a bit of a break and I'm very lucky that the club's offered me that and we'll see what happens in the future."

Warriors CEO Cameron George said the club understands Mannering's desire to make a clean break from football and would welcome him back whenever he was ready for a new job.

The Warriors spent a few days in camp at Kingscliff late last season in between games on the Gold Coast and Wollongong and George said there is still scope for Mannering to remain involved with the side.

"He's putting his family first and going on an adventure which is fantastic but regardless of the location, Simon can play a part with us through a mentoring role," he said.

"Whether he has the opportunity to meet up with the team here or in Australia, to talk to young forwards, or whatever it might be. He and Stephen will work that out in the long run, but at this stage he's a part of our club regardless.

"If he comes back to New Zealand or wants to do a little bit from afar I'm sure there's a way we can work around it."

 

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