It's a week of milestones for retiring club legend Simon Mannering who will celebrate his birthday tomorrow ahead of his 300th game in Friday's NRL clash against Canberra.

The former club captain will turn 32 before bringing up the triple century of appearances in what could be his final match at Mt Smart Stadium in the final round of the regular season against the Raiders.

With the Warriors spot in the upcoming playoffs already secured following Friday's impressive win over Penrith, the club is pulling out all the stops this week to ensure a packed house is in attendance to give the champion back-rower a hero's farewell.

Artist Emily Gardner is putting the finishing touches on a huge mural of Mannering inside the ground and the club is set to roll out several initiatives to involve his legion of fans in the lead-up to game day.


The tributes began today with the Mt Smart groundskeepers painting 'Mannering 300' across the ingoals on their training field, while players and club staff will continue to grow beards in honour of his ever-present facial hair through until the end of the season.

Mannering was quick to downplay the significance of his birthday and admitted he was humbled by all the interest, attention and tremendous support coming his way from fans and media and those within the club.

Simon Mannering in front of a mural for his 300th match created by artist Emily Gardner aka Adore. Photo / Photosport.
Simon Mannering in front of a mural for his 300th match created by artist Emily Gardner aka Adore. Photo / Photosport.

A quiet dinner with his partner Anna Bensemann and the couple's two children Zeke and Jack is on the cards tomorrow evening, while he is looking forward to catching up with the rest of his Nelson-based family on the weekend.

"I forget about birthday's these days. Ever since I turned 21 I've tried to forget about them," laughed Mannering.

"[There'll be] no cake, its game week. We'll do something quiet with the kids.

"My family is pretty low-key. They're all coming up [from Nelson] this weekend so I'll see them then."

Ticket pre-sales for Friday's match have already passed 14000 and the club has been inundated with orders from supporters travelling from all over the country and across the Tasman to show their support for Mannering.

The club's five-time Player of Year typically tried to deflect attention from his own achievements but expressed his appreciation to all the well-wishers who have backed him throughout his stellar 13-year career.


"That's really humbling and I just don't know if I deserve all of this fanfare," he said.

"I've met a lot of people along the way and they're fans of the club but they genuinely go out of their way to say 'thanks for what you've done' and I'm just doing my job.

"It means a lot to some people and it's cool if you can give people a bit of buzz in their life and they really enjoy it. So for them to come out and travel all that way just to see a game of footy – I'm sure it's not just for me, the boys are playing well - it's really humbling."

As part of the club-wide pact to grow beards, Warriors coach Stephen Kearney is sporting a decent amount of facial growth while some members of the team are clearly struggling in the stubble-stakes.

As the side rallies behind Mannering and the club's push into their first finals appearance since 2011, opposition sides would be well advised to 'fear the beard'.

"I got put on the spot there and made a commitment so I've got to follow it through," said Kearney.

"I'm in uncomfortable territory too. We've got to see how long it all goes for, that's the commitment."