By – Jackson Thomas

Melbourne Storm captain Cameron Smith took time after his side’s 12-6 win over the Warriors to honour one of his greatest adversaries, Simon Mannering.

The former club captain announced last week that he would be hanging up the boots at season’s end, after 14 years in the NRL.

Following Sunday’s match at Mt Smart, Smith paid tribute to a man he said had been a great addition not only to the Warriors, but to the game of rugby league.

“I think Simon has been one of the most consistent players, not just for the Warriors but in the NRL, throughout my career,” he said.

“You know what you you’re going to get from Simon as an opposition player. We have had some great battles over the years but I think aside from his abilities as a football player he is just a lovely man.

Simon Mannering has announced he will retire from rugby league at the end of the 2018 season.
Simon Mannering has announced he will retire from rugby league at the end of the 2018 season.

“I spoke with Ryan Hoffman (former Warriors captain) about his time over here and he said Simon was the nicest bloke you’d ever meet, very down to earth.

“It’s been great to share some part of his career and he’s been a great addition to rugby league.”

In keeping with the theme of the past few weeks, where the Warriors called departing players Johnathan Thurston and Sam Thaiday into their post match huddle, the home side took a moment to thank Hoffman for his services to the club and the game as he too nears retirement at the end of this season.

Hoffman was also presented with a plaque on behalf of the club.

“They had a little presentation to Ryan out there on the field, that’s really nice,” Smith said.

“I know his time here was very special to him and his family. It’s nice to see that side of the game. Everyone enjoys the 80 minutes of action where it can be quite brutal at times but the camaraderie there is great to see.”

Now seventh on the competition ladder, the Warriors will travel away to face the Gold Coast Titans on Sunday.