'I haven't thought about the end' - Simon Mannering staying composed as NRL career winds down

Warriors legend Simon Mannering says he's not thinking about his final few games playing for the club, having announced he'll retire at the end of the current season.

Quickly approaching the 300 game mark for the club, Mannering put in a trademark effort for the Warriors in Friday's 20-4 win over the Knights, putting the side one step closer to their first finals appearance since 2011.

However, despite walking away from the club where he's spent his whole professional career, Mannering says that he's not focusing on when the curtain comes down on his time with the Warriors.

"In all honesty, I haven't really thought about the end," he told Stuff.

"I thought that probably would be the case, but honestly, I haven't thought about the end or how many I have left.

"I'm just enjoying playing alongside these guys and I'm stoked for them all that we're playing some good footy after some pretty lean years."

Mannering also insists that the side keeping their focus towards the end of the regular season, still not guaranteed a spot in the NRL's top eight, should other results go against them.

"Next week it's the Bulldogs for us over in Sydney and it's nice to have consecutive wins, but we'll carry on building and in these next few round robin games we've got to focus on ourselves, it doesn't matter who we're playing against."

He debuted for the Warriors in 2005 and will hang up his boots at the end of the 2018 season. Source: 1 NEWS


NZ Rugby League shut down chance of Tonga-Kangaroos Test in Auckland

New Zealand Rugby League officials have blocked any plans of a Tonga-Kangaroos Test in Auckland, seemingly worried that the clash would overshadow the Kiwis.

With Mate Ma'a Tonga's rise at last year's World Cup, calls for the Pacific powerhouse to face the reigning world champions have only grown louder, with either Auckland or New York mooted as a possible venue.

However, with the Kiwis to host Australia on October 13 at Mt Smart Stadium, NZRL boss Greg Peters said that any possible clash between Tonga and the Kangaroos in Auckland was unfeasible.

"We have been talking with the Australian Rugby League Commission and they're looking at a number of options for that game," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"One of them was in Auckland, but we have a test match against Australia the weekend before, and we want to give prominence to that in our market.

"It's the first time we've played Australia in New Zealand for four years. Other than the World Cup, we've had precious little content in our own market.

"We want to rebuild the Kiwis jersey and get back on side with our fans, and this is a great opportunity for us to do that against Australia.

"It's a smaller market – we're a small sports market, let alone rugby league market in New Zealand."

An announcement over the logistics of any Kangaroos-Tonga clash is expected in the next 48 hours.

Jason Taumalolo leads the Tongan haka.
England v Tonga, Semi-Final, Rugby League World Cup 2017. RLWC2017. Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland New Zealand. Saturday 25 November 2017 © Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz
Jason Taumalolo has committed to Mate Ma'a Tonga. Source: Photosport



Wests Tigers turn attention to crucial clash with Raiders after Ivan Cleary drama finally settled

Ivan Cleary's on the bus.

Both for at least the next two years as coach of the Wests Tigers, and their three-hour road trip for today's crucial NRL clash against Canberra.

If they can defy some shocking recent history against the Raiders, the bus route could also include the Tigers making a rare visit to the finals.

Sitting four points behind eighth-placed Brisbane in ninth spot, the Tigers have just four matches to close the gap and make their first finals appearance since 2011.

After reading out a two-minute statement vowing his intention to see out his contract on Saturday, Cleary refused to take questions about his coaching future.

However he was happy to be asked about why the Raiders' recent dominance over the Tigers will count for little at GIO Stadium this afternoon.

Canberra have not only won six of their past seven meetings dating back to 2014, but accumulated a gobsmacking 206-34 difference over their past four matches alone.

The Raiders are the only team in history to have won four straight matches against the same team by at least 35 points, including a 48-12 mauling in June.

The Tigers have never failed to score at least 12 points in five straight games against a team.

"We can't really comment too much about the past, but our one game this year was certainly an aberration on the rest of our season," Cleary said.

But the Tigers do have one record in their favour.

When Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah have combined to play against the Raiders, they are a perfect ten wins from ten games.

Without one or both, the Tigers have won just four from 14 games.

Marshall alone has a career 17-1 record against the Raiders, including a perfect nine from nine in the nation's capital.

And, with the team's finals hopes on a knife's edge, Cleary declared the veteran playmaker a certain starter after battling through a calf issue.

"You always want not only your experienced players but Benji's been a big part of our team throughout the year. So you definitely want those guys on board. It's a big boost for us," he said.

"He trained really strongly (on Friday). He's had calf problems, a few different ones throughout the year. He knows how to manage that. He wouldn't play if he wasn't right."

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 15:  David Nofoaluma of the Tigers celebrates with teammates after scoring a try during the round 18 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Wests Tigers at UOW Jubilee Oval on July 15, 2018 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)
Robbie Farah. Source: Getty