Simon Mannering added another layer to his legend on Friday night.

He left the field early in the second half of the 20-16 win over the Raiders, but probably shouldn't have been out there at all, after copping a painful injury in the first minute.

From the kickoff, 122kg Raiders' prop Shannon Boyd hurtled into the Warriors defence, with his elbow smashing into Mannering's sternum.

Studies have concluded that some league collisions are comparable to the G Forces involved in a car crash at 40km/h, and this was one of those occasions.


Mannering suffered a sternum, or chest contusion, which would leave most people running for their beds.

Many other players wouldn't have been able to stay on the field, but this was another example of Mannering's famous pain threshold.

"I was battling away," admitted Mannering. "It wasn't too bad carrying the footy, [but] got a bit sore as the half went on. It was more trying to tackle ... I was trying to avoid contact as much as possible. When it cooled down at halftime it probably made it worse."

The Warriors are hopeful Mannering will be available next week, but it will be a late call. In most situations it wouldn't be feasible, but given the circumstances, and the player, it wouldn't surprise.

Putting aside the injury, Friday night was a wonderful occasion for Mannering.

Simon Mannering tackled. Photo / Photosport
Simon Mannering tackled. Photo / Photosport

And he was clearly touched, with an emotional post-match speech, as thousands stayed behind to pay tribute.

"All week I was pretty good but when the whole crowd was there and they went out of their way to stick around ... it just hit home how privileged and lucky I am to have had that support," reflected Mannering.

Mannering was clearly stunned by the depth of feeling, and the amount of pre-game messages.


"It blew me away," said Mannering. "All week I got really nice messages from people I had never met [and] some people I had played against but never had much of a relationship outside of that went out of their way to send messages ... really humbling. In the warm up I saw the Prime Minister send a message."

Mannering also noted the video tribute posted by the All Blacks, and the bond with skipper Kieran Read.

"We were lucky enough to have Kieran come and see us early in the season," said Mannering. "It blew me away, the type of bloke he was. [He was] real down to earth, just wanted to help, loved his league and we took a lot away from that. For them to take time to send a message through, [that's] pretty special."

There was a unique feeling in the air on Friday night, right from the moment gates opened at 6:00pm and fans flooded the merchandise store, to buy the special edition, AC/DC inspired t-shirt, to commemorate Mannering's 300th match.

After a pre-kickoff welcome, with sons Zeke and Jake in tow and alongside partner Anna, fans cheered his every touch before his premature departure.

Mannering ended his post-match speech by addressing the supporters, thanking them for their unwavering support and signing off by saying "I love all you guys".

There's no doubt the feeling's mutual.