New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) wishes to honour Kiwi #731 Simon Mannering for his outstanding service to the New Zealand Kiwis and the NZRL upon the announcement that he has retired from international rugby league.
Mannering has pulled on the Kiwis jersey 45 times making him one of the most capped New Zealand internationals behind Ruben Wiki (55), Gary Freeman (46) and Stacey Jones (46).
Simon epitomises the values of the NZRL and brought masses of passion and pride to the side each time he appeared in black and white.
After talking with Kiwis Coach Michael Maguire, he was confident that his time to hang up the boots had come.
“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.
“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.”
Maguire looks forward to his on-going involvement with the Kiwis as a mentor and knowledgeable leader of the game.
“In his years of being a Kiwi, there is no doubt that Simon has made his country proud. There is a reason so many budding rugby league players idolise his abilities on the field and the way he holds himself off the field makes him a true Kiwi role model.
“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.
As a second-rower, back-rower or centre, and being dubbed as ‘Mr. Consistent’, Mannering is a defensive specialist that teammates love having near them on the field.
He 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 was selected in the Kiwis squad for the 2010 Four Nations tournament and played off the bench in the Four Nations warm-up Test against Samoa at Auckland’s Mount Smart Stadium, which the Kiwis won 50–6.
During the Four Nations, Mannering featured in all of the Kiwis’ regular tournament games at Second Row. Earning selection in the centres for the Grand Final match against Australia at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, New Zealand won the game 16–12 and the 2010 Four Nations tournament.
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.
Mannering and his team continued their great record in Brisbane with a commanding 26–12 victory in 2015 giving them their first Anzac Test win since 1998.
Following an injury in 2016, Simon resumed his Kiwis career playing in three of the four 2017 Rugby League World Cup games taking his Test caps to 45 and equalling the feats of Kiwi #640 Stephen Kearney.
Joining Mannering in retiring from international rugby league is Kiwi #756 Ben Matulino and Kiwi #768 Russell Packer. The West Tigers teammates played in 23 and seven Tests respectively.
Matulino’s seven year Kiwis career (2009-2015) saw him debut for the New Zealand team during the Four Nations 62-12 win over France. In 2010, he was part of the Four Nations winning Kiwis side and went on to play in the 2011 and 2014 Four Nations, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015 ANZAC Tests, and played in five matches of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.
Packer debuted for the Kiwis in 2011 at a one-off Test against Australia in Newcastle en route to the Four Nations in the United Kingdom and following a turbulent period in his rugby league career, returned to international rugby league at the 2017 ANZAC Test. At the 2017 Rugby League World Cup he played in all four games for the Kiwis and now closes the curtain on his Kiwis career.
Simon Mannering – Kiwi #731 2006 – 2017 45 Tests
Ben Matulino – Kiwi #756 2009 – 2015 23 Tests
Russell Packer – Kiwi #768 2011 – 2017 7 Tests