Simon Mannering is battling a niggling neck injury, which may compromise his ability to play 80 minutes each week in 2017.

For the first time in years, the previously indestructible Mannering has showed signs of being a mere mortal this season.

He's still capable of amazing deeds, the Mt Smart version of Parramatta legend Ray Price, who was known as Mr Perpetual Motion.

But he's only completed two 80 minute games this season, given a rest against the Storm and the Titans and leaving the field injured against the Knights.


"I haven't played 80 that much this season," said Mannering. "Mooks (Stephen Kearney) has told me before a few games I would be having a break. But it doesn't bother me either way. It's about whatever is best for the make-up of the team, and just getting on with it."

In his typically understated manner, Mannering didn't want to elaborate on his neck complaint, only saying that it was "giving him a bit of grief" during games.

It relates to the injury suffered against the Knights, when he copped a couple of stray boots in the head. Mannering said he is on the mend, but the effects may linger for some time.

Kearney faces a delicate balancing act. It makes sense to give Mannering some rest, and previous coach Andrew McFadden used to try as well, but rarely got the chance.

Mannering ran himself to exhaustion in 2015, getting to the point where his body broke down and he was forced to miss the Kiwis tour of England.

Last year was similar; he played all but two NRL matches - averaging nearly 44 tackles a game - and was broken by the end of the season, sitting out another Kiwis campaign. He often appeared to be a one man defensive wall, with chaos all around him. Mannering was leading the kick chase, taking the tough carries and trying to solidify the middle of the ruck.

This year has to be more of a team effort; to get the best out of Mannering, including his offensive game; he needs to be used slightly less.

The Warriors' defence has been a disappointment this year. There have been periods of grit, but too many turnstile moments and the team has conceded a whopping 24 points a game. But they held the Titans scoreless for the last 46 minutes last Sunday and Mannering insists there are signs of hope.

"We were pleased with the back half of the game and hopefully that is a sign of things to come," said Mannering. "Defensively we were probably trying to do things by ourselves too much which gets us in trouble. Last weekend we were working more together as a pack; it made it so much easier and you can see the effects of it on the field."

Mannering was also impressed with Kieran Foran's debut, after playing with the 26-year-old on numerous occasions with the Kiwis.

"I was happy for him and he played well," said Mannering. "Every time he plays he has a crack and that's all you want from a teammate and especially someone in the halves who just rips into everything. That's really inspiring for all of us."