The 2018 retirements are flowing thick and fast, with New Zealand Warriors fan favourite Simon Mannering the latest to announce his.
After 14 years with the Warriors and in the NRL and with 300 games on the horizon, Mannering says it was not an easy decision.
It was, however, a decision that he feels comfortable with now that it has been made.
“It has taken a while to reach this point but I’m comfortable with the decision I’ve finally made,” Mannering said.
“It hasn’t been easy, that’s for sure. There has been a lot to think about.
“I’ve really enjoyed this season and that was one of the factors that was playing on my mind.”
Mannering is grateful to have played his entire career at one club, although he knows the season is not done yet.
“I’m really grateful to the Vodafone Warriors for giving me the time I needed,” Mannering continued.
“It’s a big call when you consider retirement, even more so having played my entire career for this great club.
“It’s not over yet, though.
“There are still a lot of games to be played and I want to do all I can to help the team and coaching staff in a bid to finish our season as well as we possibly can.”
Just 18 years old when he made his debut back in 2005, Mannering’s longevity and effect at the club quickly made him a fan favourite.
Warriors coach Stephen Kearney admits it was a sad day to hear that the Kiwi international would be retiring.
“I’d love Simon to play on forever but sadly, the time comes when players have to make the call to finish,” Kearney said.
“I know how difficult this would have been for him.
“He loves playing footy and he loves this club, so it’s a really significant day for him and for all of us.”