Rugby League

Simon Mannering quits as NZ Warriors captain, replaced by Ryan Hoffman

Simon Mannering is quitting as captain of the the Warriors.

This weekend's preseason clash against St George Illawarra in his home town of Nelson will be his last game in charge. He will be replaced by Australian forward Ryan Hoffman.

More Sport Videos

Plays Of The Week

From slam dunks to double tons, these are the most exciting, silly and downright crazy plays in the sport world this week.

Mannering had given coach Andrew McFadden an indication of his thoughts and confirmed his decision to his players on Wednesday. He wants to concentrate fully on playing.

"That wasn't easy because the players and the club mean so much to me but I've been thinking about this throughout the offseason," Mannering said.

"While it has been a massive honour being captain, I wasn't enjoying my football and felt the responsibilities of the captaincy were a big factor in that.

"I told Cappy (McFadden) and (managing director) Jim (Doyle) that I thought it would be best for me and therefore best for the team if I was able to focus solely on my job as a player.


"They asked me to reconsider but my mind was made up and, to be honest, it's a relief. It has taken a big weight off me."

The 29-year-old has played 236 games for the Warriors and captained them 136 times since taking over from Steve Price in 2010.

New leader: Ryan Hoffman.
New leader: Ryan Hoffman. Photo: Getty Images

He has retained the captaincy under five different coaches at the club since Ivan Cleary put him in charge in a controversial move.

McFadden said 32-year-old Hoffman,  the club's most experienced player with 263 NRL appearances, was a natural fit for the leadership role.

Stepping aside: Simon Mannering.
Stepping aside: Simon Mannering. Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung

"He is an obvious replacement for Simon, a natural leader who brings all the qualities we want, one who plays for 80 minutes, is durable and has a fiercely competitive attitude," McFadden said.

"He has the respect and support of the players."

McFadden made it clear he would have liked Mannering to stay in charge but respected his decision.

"It's obviously a sad day for the club, he has been captain for the last six years and done a fantastic job. We would have liked him to stay on but he has made that decision. I full support that decision. I think it is the right decision for him and the right decision for the team," McFadden said.

McFadden said it came down to getting the best out of Mannering.

"Simon was exhausted at the end of last year. We sat down to talk about leadership and how to support his leadership. He couldn't see himself getting through another year.

"He needs to enjoy his footie and when he enjoys his footie he plays terrific and that's the priority at the moment."

Hoffman, who joined the Warriors from Melbourne last season, said being made the club's captain was one the biggest highlights of his career.

"It's a huge honour and I'm totally humbled to be offered the job," he said.

"It's a brave decision Simon has made. He's a terrific leader and player and I know he'll still be there as usual doing everything he can to help the team."

Mannering missed the recent Auckland Nines because of the birth of his second child.

McFadden encouraged the public to give Mannering a memorable homecoming when he leads the Warriors for the last time on Saturday.

"He's a great player and a great leader, the ultimate case of a captain who leads by example," he said.

"We're looking forward to the people from the Nelson region giving one of their favourite sons a really special welcome. He certainly deserves it."

Mannering has been a one-club man since joining the Warriors in 2005.

His captaincy style has drawn some criticism. A low-key personality, he has used a follow-me method rather than a fist-thumping approach.

But his playing performance and commitment have never been questioned. His versatility has been a key to the team,  able to cover second row or centre. He was also appointed as the New Zealand Kiwis captain in 2013.

He didn't tour England with the Kiwis at the end of last year because of medical reasons. Issac Luke and Adam Blair were named as co-captains by coach Steve Kearney.