NRL: Follow the leader - Price vs Mannering

By Michael Brown

Steve Price and Simon Mannering - both long-serving captain for the Warriors. Photo / Getty
Steve Price and Simon Mannering - both long-serving captain for the Warriors. Photo / Getty

Simon Mannering will tomorrow night equal Steve Price's record for the most number of games as Warriors captain (91). Mannering controversially took over as Warriors skipper from Price while the Australian prop was still playing - the club said they wanted to develop Mannering as a captain while Price was still around - but it was actually good timing because Price barely played another game as he struggled with injury.

The pair have experienced both the highs and lows at the Warriors and have led the team in different ways. Michael Brown of APNZ looks at the impact both have made as a captain and player.

Steve Price (2005-09)
Head: Price was a smart player who played 313 NRL games, 28 Origin matches for Queensland and 16 tests for Australia. He also completed a masters in business administration in 2010 and once talked about becoming NRL chief executive. In 2010, Price was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year's honours list.

Voice: The prop's gravelly voice resonated with players, fans and sponsors at a critical time as the club tried to overcome the salary cap issue. He spoke intelligently on the game and was a great front man for the Warriors. At times the Polynesian players in the side struggled to connect with him, instead seeing Ruben Wiki as their leader, but Price commanded great respect. That was perhaps best illustrated when he was chosen to play the Dally Messenger role for the All Golds in 2008, which confirmed his status as an honorary Kiwi. Price is regularly employed on the public speaking circuit.

Body: Price came to the Warriors when he was 31 but remained durable and dependable. He played the majority of games in his first few years with the club, as well as test and Origin football, but injuries started becoming an issue and a heel injury prompted his retirement in 2010 - the previous year he became the oldest active player in the NRL.

Record: Individually, Price played some of the best rugby league of his career at the Warriors. He became the first forward to top 300m in a game (and set a new mark of 323m) and in 2007 ran for the most metres of any forward in history (4515m). He was certainly aided by some handy lieutenants, but the Warriors enjoyed good success under Price's leadership, getting to one game shy of the grand final in 2008 and making the playoffs in two of his five years (they missed out in 2006 because of the points deduction due to the salary cap).

Simon Mannering (2010 - )

Head: Mannering is incredibly adaptable and is comfortable playing in a variety of positions - second-row, centre, back-row - and even made his Kiwis debut in 2006 in the No 13 jersey despite playing all of his NRL football to that time in the centres. He's a clever and professional player and his strength is his workrate and robust defence.

Voice: Mannering is quietly spoken and often appears uncomfortable in the public eye. He's not a ranter or raver and prefers to lead by example but is becoming more accustomed to captaining sides - he took over the Kiwis captaincy from Benji Marshall last year. He is well respected by all layers of people at the Warriors.

Body: The second-rower is one of the fittest and most durable players in the NRL and has accumulated impressive sequences of consecutive games (in 2010 he broke a run of 92 games and in 2012 one of 62 matches). He looks after his body but niggles are taking their toll (he's presently dealing with a plantar fascia injury).

Record: Mannering had a great start to his captaincy, with the Warriors finishing fifth in 2010 and then playing in the club's second grand final the following year. The past two years, however, have been very disappointing as they slumped to 14th in 2012 and 11th in 2013. There have been various calls for him to be replaced as Warriors captain - something he's willing to do if it's best for the team - but the club are steadfast in their support of him and it's not as if they are awash with alternatives. Mannering has three times been named Warriors Player of the Year.


Verdict: Mannering will be one of the Warriors' best players in history and could develop into a good leader but Price must go down as the greatest Warriors captain to date.APNZ mb lb

- NZ Herald

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