17 Sep 2014

Mannering named Warriors player of the year

11:59 am on 17 September 2014

Captain Simon Mannering has been named the New Zealand Warriors player of the year.

It is a record fourth time that Mannering has been awarded the club's supreme honour.

It's the second straight year and the third time in the last four seasons that the 28-year-old captain has been named the club's best NRL player.

Warriors captain Simon Mannering

Warriors captain Simon Mannering Photo: PHOTOSPORT

And this time he was able to accept the accolade in front of more than 800 guests after missing last year's awards dinner when his partner Anna was about to have the couple's son Zeke.

In a season when the Vodafone Warriors failed narrowly to make the NRL finals, Mannering's contribution was consistently outstanding as he appeared in all 24 games and equalled his career-best try tally of nine in a season.

Mannering's two other major personal miletone came in the first game back home at Mount Smart Stadium in June when he achieved the double of 200 NRL appearances and 100 games as Warriors captain (he had earlier overtaken Steve Price's captaincy record of 91 games while he is only the second player after Stacey Jones to represent the club in 200 matches).

Simon Mannering scores a try against the Sea Eagles.

Simon Mannering scores a try against the Sea Eagles. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Finishing the season with 212 games - and 112 as captain - Mannering ranked fifth for most metres (2221, an average of 93 a game) and second best among the forwards with only prop Jacob Lillyman ahead of him. He was fourth for most runs (247) and defensively he was clearly the second busiest player with 712 tackles, an average of just under 30 a game. Mannering played the full 80 minutes in 22 games, missing 26 minutes in one game and being taken off with a minute to go in another to average 79 minutes a game.

Winger Manu Vatuvei was the Players' Player of the Year as voted on by his peers each game of the season.

The 28-year-old Vatuvei had an outstanding year scoring 17 tries in 23 appearances to lift his career tally to 135 in 194 matches.

That moved him inside the NRL's all-time top 20 try scorers as he maintained his sequence of being the club's top or top-equal try-scorer in each of the last eight seasons while he is only the second player in the competition's history to score 10 or more tries in nine consecutive seasons (only the great Ken Irvine stands above him).

The North Queensland Cowboys playmaker Johnathan Thurston has won Rugby League's Players' Player Medal for the third time.

A strong finish to the regular season saw Thurston retain the title ahead of the 2009 winner Jarryd Hayne, Anthony Milford, Jesse Bromwich and Gareth Widdop.

The award is determined by votes lodged by players after each game of the NRL regular season.

Thurston sent a video message to the function from Townsville where he is preparing with the Cowboys team for this weekend's NRL semi-final against the Roosters.