It was probably the worst night of his career and Manu Vatuvei admits his meltdown against the Eels in 2007 led to self-doubts that culminated in his recent breakdown.

The Warriors winger had a night he would rather forget after making a host of costly errors in the 30-6 defeat but it's been difficult given the number of times he's been reminded of it and the amount he's wrestled with it.

It was labelled by some as one of the worst NRL performance ever and he was dropped the following week.

He's gone on to become one of the most prolific try-scorers in NRL history, with 148 in 215 games. It's the most by any Warriors player and only 24 behind Melbourne's Billy Slater among active players.


Watch: Manu Vatuvei on Konrad Hurrell

Manu Vatuvei talks about his former teammate Konrad Hurrell.

Vatuvei admits it started a period of self-doubt that finally led to his recent breakdown in the wake of the prescription pills and energy drinks saga he was involved on.

The 30-year-old went on medical leave from the club and, while he's back training with the Warriors, it's not known when he will make a return to playing.

"With the '07 game, it kind of started from there," Vatuvei told Newstalk ZB. "With all the pressure, you try to forget about that game and you try your hardest just to perform well and make people forget about it but it will always come back and haunt you every time. It's something that I've been battling.

"And all this other stuff I've been battling, too. I always try to hide everything through my laugh and just laugh it off, but a month ago just was at a breaking point when everyone just hammered me and I think that was my breaking point and [I] kind of lost it."

Vatuvei on the infamous night out:

Last year Vatuvei put his name to a new charity foundation - I Am Unstoppable - focused on combating youth suicide, depression and alcohol and drug abuse, among other causes. On the surface, he has always been a happy-go-lucky soul but, behind the scenes, has been battling his own mental demons.

He says he has tried not to let it affect his own performances but admits it is difficult.
"On the field you're just concentrating on what you're doing for the team and on your job. I don't think about other stuff but you try to clear your mind so that you can play well.

"I love the game. It's after the game when it hits, when you sit back and you can't take your mind off a lot of things and a lot of things play in your head and you go home and you're still thinking about the game. That's the hardest part and then it doesn't help when you get flak from everywhere."

Manu Vatuvei and THAT Tweet: I was at breaking point

Manu Vatuvei talks about his ill-fated tweet, and how the public pressure to perform has affected him.

Former team-mate Konrad Hurrell is another who has been in the spotlight over the past two years, often for the wrong reasons, and last week left the Warriors to join the Titans. It was a blow for Vatuvei, who looked on Hurrell like a younger brother.

"It was tough. It hit me now, seeing him leave, but I had a few good talks with Konny. I treat him like my little brother. And we all go through our highs and lows but I always tell him that's not the end of his book. There's a new chapter in his life and it's something he's got to take and I'm happy that he's moved on. It might be a good thing for him and for his lifestyle.

"He's still young, he's still learning everything in his life. I was like that when I was young but we didn't have all that social media stuff around us so we've just got to be there for each other and I was just there to back him up and protect him every time. Whenever things go wrong, you pick him up and lift his spirits up and move forward."