It's fitting Simon Mannering will be leaving the NRL on a high.

Mannering's final few weeks as a professional league player will be one for the highlight reels.

That's virtually guaranteed.

First, there's tonight's sellout clash with the Raiders, which will produce an electric atmosphere.

Following that, there will be a Warriors finals venture for the first time in seven years, which is already a big boost for the league fraternity.


Fittingly, Mannering is also leaving the stage in great form. He has come to the fore in recent weeks, high-lighted by his display in the 36-16 win over the Panthers, where he was prominent in attack and defence. Being back at lock suits his game, and the progress of the team means Mann-ering is no longer just a tackling machine.

And unlike many great Warriors names of the past, Mannering will get an appropriate curtain call.

Stacey Jones certainly didn't, as the Storm beat the Warriors 30-0 in his final match for the club, at the end of a disappointing 2009 campaign where the team finished 14th.

Manu Vatuvei also didn't exit in ideal circumstances. He was plagued by injury in his final season (playing only two games) and wasn't able to play a farewell match. The club renamed Mt Smart as Manu Vatuvei Stadium in his honour, for his final (non-playing appearance) at Penrose, but only 13,000 fans turned up, to witness a dispiriting loss to the Panthers.

Micheal Luck said goodbye on a miserable, rainy afternoon at Mt Smart, after a 42-22 loss to Canberra in 2012. It was the team's eighth consecutive defeat, which was hardly appropriate after seven years of whole hearted service from the Queenslander.

Steve Price, who had four seasons as Warriors skipper, wasn't able to play a single game in his final campaign. He suffered an Achilles injury in pre-season before the 2010 campaign, and never recovered.

Ben Matulino, who is one of only four men to play more than 200 games for the club, took his final bow at a near empty stadium at the end of last season, while 186-game prop Jacob Lillyman also signed off during the long losing streak last year.

Mannering looks set to buck the trend of inglorious farewells and it's the least he deserves.


There's a nagging feeling he has given more to the club than the club has given him. He carried the team and the franchise through a few years when there was chaos all around, on and off the field.

And his unstinting loyalty has probably cost him some silverware, as he turned down offers to go elsewhere during crucial junctures in his career.