Retiring Warrior Simon Mannering bowed out on a sad note but the 301 game veteran said he was proud of the side's achievements after last night's season ending 27-12 NRL elimination playoff loss to Penrith.

The 32-year-old lock was disappointed the Warriors let slip a 12-2 lead to concede 25 unanswered points to the Panthers, but pleased with the progress and improvements they had made this season.

Making the top eight for the first time since 2011 was rewarding for the former club captain and Mannering believes the side's younger players will grow from the experience of playing in a sudden-death playoff.

"It's not ideal to finish tonight but I'm still proud of our guys with the season we've had," Mannering told Sky Sport.

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"At times we found ourselves under a bit of pressure and every time we did we fought our way out of it so I'm really proud of the guys.

"We had 15 wins for the year which is more than we've had for a long time. It's a good stepping stone for us moving into next year and a lot of our guys had never played finals footy so they'll learn from that and be better for it."


A sternum injury suffered in last week's milestone match against Canberra would have sidelined many other players but Mannering battled on with painkilling injections helping him get through 25 tackles and 11 runs in two stints over 66 minutes.

Coach Stephen Kearney praised the former Kiwis captain and 45 test veteran's resilience and selflessness as the ultimate club man helped staff clear out of their ANZ Stadium sheds.

"That injury was always going to be painful no matter who it is. But if there's one guy that could carry that injury and play with it it's probably Simon," said Kearney.

"He doesn't let on too much and you just never get a sense from him of how sore he is.

He was never going to tell us [how much pain he was in] anyway. He's here packing up chairs now and that's just the fella that he is."

Warriors second-rower Tohu Harris said the side was disappointed they couldn't extend Mannering's career by another week at least but believed his legacy would continue.

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"We just wanted to keep playing games with him. He's someone you want out on the field next to you," said Harris.

"It is disappointing that it was the last time that he ran out but he spoke to the group about just how grateful he was for us to put in for him this year especially these last few weeks.

"He's left a huge mark on the club and hopefully we can continue on from where he left off."

Despite being outclassed on the big stage Mannering insists the Warriors are growing in belief both individually and collectively.

"The guys are getting a lot more confidence and belief. We definitely won a few games this year that we wouldn't have won previously, hanging tough and grinding our way out of it. "Unfortunately we couldn't do it tonight after starting with a hiss and a roar and then Penrith fought back and put a bit of pressure on us.

"Disappointing but the guys can hold their heads high and be proud of what they achieved over the last 25 weeks. It's something to build on."