Simon Mannering a 'massive loss' for Kiwis Four Nations campaign
Thursday 20 Oct 2016 6:05 a.m.
Simon Mannering (Photosport)
Senior Kiwis players have vowed to step up to the mark after stalwart back-rower Simon Mannering was ruled out of the Four Nations with injury.
Mannering, 30, was named in coach David Kidwell's 24-man squad to travel to England a fortnight ago but has failed to overcome a knee complaint.
The Warriors gun has made 41 Tests for his country and succeeded Benji Marshall as Kiwis captain in 2013.
He subsequently led the side to their 2014 Four Nations triumph.
New skipper Jesse Bromwich said Mannering's absence would be felt on and off the pitch as someone the team looked to for leadership.
The onus would now be on senior players such as Bromwich, Adam Blair and Storm teammate Kevin Proctor to pick up the slack.
"All the boys love playing with him and he's very loud on the field, so I suppose I'll try and take the reins a little bit there," Proctor said.
"I can help the younger guys get into a routine and do their job."
Mannering made more than 1000 tackles as his Warriors outfit limped to a 10th-place finish in 2016, missing the finals for a fifth consecutive year.
Former Warriors teammate Thomas Leuluai, who will join Wigan after the Four Nations campaign, said the Nelson native was one of the finest Kiwi league players ever.
"It's going to be a massive loss, I was really looking forward to playing alongside him," the 31-year-old playmaker said.
In Mannering's place steps Panthers young gun James Fisher-Harris, fresh off a breakout season for his club side.
The 20-year-old made 23 appearances and more than 1600 metres with the ball as Penrith fell out in the semi-finals.
Bromwich had no doubt the aggressive Fisher-Harris would step up to the mark.
"He'll definitely bring a lot of energy and passion to this team, and you can never have too much of that," the 27-year-old Bromwich said.
"These young fellas are always bouncing off the walls whenever we're training and it's good to have."
Fisher-Harris and his teammates departed for the UK on Wednesday evening before their first match against England on October 29.