Off-contract Warriors icon Simon Mannering is in no rush to finalise his playing future and says his career plans will be determined by his family rather than a personal decision.
With Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck having re-signed with the club on a new four-year deal yesterday, the 31-year-old back-rower knows the spotlight will now turn on him as he enters the final season of his current four-year contract.
Ahead of his 13th season in the NRL, the 280-game veteran is in doubt to play in next week's round one clash against South Sydney in Perth after suffering a shoulder injury in Saturday's trial win over the Gold Coast.
Mannering had scans on the injury yesterday and was awaiting the results, but told the Herald it was not as bad as he first feared.
But the former Warriors and Kiwis skipper admits he'll need to weigh up how his body is feeling throughout the year and talk things through with his loved ones before deciding where he will spend the twilight of his career.
"I just said to Roger, it's awesome that he's here for four more years – now I'm waiting for my four year deal to come next," Mannering joked at the Warriors season launch on Tuesday.
Fans will of course be hoping the club moves swiftly to re-sign him on what would likely be his final contract to ensure he remains a one-club player.
Mannering conceded arriving at a decision would be more difficult than it was earlier in his career, when he only had to worry about himself and his own personal goals.
This time round there are other stakeholders that will have a big say – namely his partner Anna Bensemann and their two young boys Zeke and Jack.
"I'm in a different position now to Rog," he said. "When you're young and contract time comes up you're like 'let's get it sorted as soon as possible'.
"But I'm in a position now where I have so many more things to weigh up, family-wise and physically, and it's more a decision that will be based on conversations with people close to me on what I want to do, rather than 'I want to keep playing footy and let's just do it'. It's not just that decision anymore.
"I'm not saying that's not my train of thought - 100 per cent I'm still really enjoying footy. And even in the pre-season I've enjoyed seeing the young guys develop and the new changes at the club.
"So we'll see how the season pans out and once we get into the season I'll make a decision from there."
Reflecting on Tuivasa-Sheck's re-signing and speculation linking him to a cross-code switch to rugby, Mannering said he would have understood if his close friend had decided to leave the Warriors.
While pleased and grateful to have been able to remain at the Warriors since he debuted in 2005, he understands that scenario isn't possible for all players.
"If he had decided to leave it would never be on his head like 'mate, you've left us hanging'. No way.
"You learn in this sport you've got to look after yourself first and foremost and obviously you're family as well.
"There's a big emphasis on loyalty to clubs but everyone's in different situations throughout their career.
"I've been lucky enough throughout my career that I've been able to do that and that's an awesome thing, but for some players it's not possible and they have to make changes and move.
"But you never hold it against teammates for coming and going."
He believes Tuivasa-Sheck's decision to re-sign long-term will help the club as they look to rebuild after last year's disastrous campaign.
"It's awesome moving forward having someone like Roger recommit for four more years at the club.
"I think the effect it will have on the group and organisation will be massive. In the last two years I've seen him grow as a leader and a player and the effect he's had on other players.
"It's great for New Zealand rugby league as well. He will continue to grow and develop his game.
"He's an awesome player now but he'll only get better which is exciting and he's just a good person as well."
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