Retired club legend Simon Mannering has emerged as a key decision maker in the hunt for a new Warriors coach.

The famously humble Mannering didn't have to be asked – he rang to volunteer in the hope of helping turn around a club still mired in 25 years of erratic performances and disappointment.

Mannering said he wasn't trying to pick the coach, but offer insights. His offer was enthusiastically accepted.

A swag of hopefuls are in the frame, from the veteran Tim Sheens, to recent NRL coaches Anthony Griffin, Geoff Toovey and Trent Barrett, England coach Shaun Wane, and up-and-comers including the Warriors interim boss Todd Payten.


The 33-year-old Mannering, who had a celebrated 300-game career for the Warriors before retiring in 2018, is living in his old hometown of Nelson where he has started a building apprenticeship.

Mannering - who also played 45 tests for the Kiwis - will join club owner Mark Robinson, chairman Rob Croot and CEO Cameron George in choosing the man to replace the sacked Steve Kearney. Five of the club's top players will also be consulted.

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

George wants Mannering to be central in the whole process – from drawing up a shortlist to making the final decision.

"I'm stoked Simon will be part of it – it is so important to have that footy insight," said George.

"It's very important to have someone with that experience involved.

"He rang to say he wanted to help out. He wanted to make sure we could have some insights, so it's not Groundhog Day again.

"He said he understands what is good and bad about the club, what makes this place different."

Mannering took a break in Australia on retiring before accepting a mentoring job at the Warriors early this year.


That role was a victim of the virus crisis but his return in this capacity adds a lot of inside knowledge and credibility to the coaching search.

The team's leadership group - captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Tohu Harris, Adam Blair, Blake Green and Jazz Tevaga – will be interviewed at some point.

The Warriors should know the candidates by early next week. Further high profile candidates could join the race.

Payten is the club's sixth head coach since Ivan Cleary guided them to the 2011 grand final.