David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

NRL: Simon Mannering - 'The Ultimate Warrior'

Warriors lock Simon Mannering admits his body is feeling the effects of a torrid career as he approaches his 250th NRL match against the Gold Coast on Saturday.

The former club captain showed no signs of slowing down in Saturday's golden point loss to Cronulla, getting through a typically phenomenal 67 tackles before being replaced three minutes into extra time.

Coach Andrew McFadden gave him the day off training on Tuesday and the 29-year-old confirmed the extra rest was needed to ensure he'll be at his best in his milestone appearance that also doubles as the Warriors 250th match at Mt Smart Stadium.

"Definitely the last few years it's caught up on me," Mannering said.

"The game's getting harder and harder and I'm getting older and older so it makes it harder to get out of bed in the morning and get up for training.

"The club's been really good to me over the last couple of years and done a really good job managing me through that to get me playing games. That's the most important thing."

Never one to talk himself up, Mannering was doing his best to downplay his achievement in becoming just the second Warriors player behind Stacey Jones to reach the 250 mark.

After an injury and illness-affected 2015 season saw him miss the Kiwis end of year tour to England, the Warriors midseason revival has coincided with Mannering rediscovering his best form.

Having handed the captain's armband over to Ryan Hoffman ahead of round one, he admits his game has benefitted from being relieved of the extra leadership duties.

"I never would have thought this was possible when I was starting out," he said.

"I feel pretty lucky I've had the chance to represent the club that many times and it's been an honour.

"I definitely feel there's less emphasis on me and my role in the team. I would say I've enjoyed my role in the team more without the captaincy."

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McFadden praised Mannering's contribution and his unrivalled ability to play through pain and adversity, while likening his relentless energy to that of former Canberra, New South Wales and Kangaroos legend Bradley Clyde.

"I've met players that can give everything but I haven't me players like Simon that can do it under a fair bit of duress," said McFadden.

"People won't even know what he's had to put up with in a game before and he's certainly the ultimate Warrior.

"Brad was very much of the same ilk. He was very hard working, played 80 minutes, (and) never stopped for the team."

Canberra Raiders legend Bradley Clyde was widely accepted as the best lock in the game during the peak of his career in the early 1990s. Photo / Getty Images.
Canberra Raiders legend Bradley Clyde was widely accepted as the best lock in the game during the peak of his career in the early 1990s. Photo / Getty Images.

Clyde remains the only player to have won two Clive Churchill medals as the best player in a grand final (1989 and 1991) and Mannering admits an elusive premiership would provide the ultimate reward, with just two and a half seasons remaining on his current contract.

"It would be nice to leave the club having achieved that," he said. "We've had a few cracks at it over time and only got to the grand final once. That'd be the ultimate way to finish up."

Meanwhile, McFadden is looking for his side to maintain their high level of effort that saw them win three straight matches before the 19-18 loss to the Sharks.

The 10th ranked Titans are level with the 11th-ranked Warriors on 16 points with Saturday's match crucial to both side's top eight hopes.

"We've had a good consistent month and we've got to keep building on that.

"That's just got to be the benchmark for us, the minimum standard and that's what we're trying to do.

"They're a really highly skilled side and they are not too dissimilar to us, they play with a lot of offloads and second phase. We're expecting a tough challenge."

Halfback Shaun Johnson also sat out Tuesday's training as he continues to manage the quad injury sustained in the round 14 win over Newcastle, but both he and Mannering were due to rejoin the team at today's session.

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