Retired Warriors icon Simon Mannering is lending his vast experience to help the Kiwi Ferns ahead of Saturday's clash against the Australian Jillaroos in Auckland.

The 32-year-old former New Zealand test captain last month played his 301st and final NRL match in the Warriors' season ending qualifying final loss to Penrith, after announcing his retirement from international football in June.

The 45-test veteran downplayed his new role as assistant team trainer but the former lock forward will also be offering tactical advice to the Kiwi Ferns as they prepare to host the world champions at his old stomping ground Mt Smart Stadium.

The national women's side will play the second game on the triple-header bill, following the Junior Kiwis curtain-raiser clash against the Kangaroos, and prior to the transtasman test between the Kiwis and Kangaroos.


Mannering's involvement comes after he accepted an invitation from Kiwi Ferns head coach Kelvin Wright, before receiving the green light from partner and the mother of his two young children, Anna Bensemann.

"Kelvin asked me midway through the year and I said I'd love to get it past the boss at home and she said, 'go for it'," said Mannering.

"We'll see how we go. I'm just going to float in between [the coaching and training staff] and help out. Hopefully [we can work on] a bit of defence and attack, nothing too serious.

"I'll just try and help the girls with their prep through the week and if I can pass on any stuff I've learned along the way to help them that will be great."

Former Kiwis assistant coach Justin Morgan has also come on-board as one of Wright's right-hand men, together with fellow assistant Tim McIntyre, while Mannering will work closely with head trainer Marrin Haggie.

"Simon's fallen into the trainer's role so he's jumping in and getting the players going in the warm-ups," explained Wright.

"But obviously he's got a lot to offer just in terms of some tips around camp and talking to them around big games and preparation.

"There was certainly a lot of excitement from the girls when Simon walked into camp on Saturday. He said a few words to the team but basically he's just there for support in whichever way he can be of help."


Known as a tireless worker throughout his 14-year career, Mannering was unsure if he would help run the water on game day after savouring his first month of downtime.

"I don't know if I've got the legs to do that anymore," he said. "I haven't been training at all. I've been eating pies and drinking beer.

"It's been all good. I've been a stay at home dad. My partner is still working so I've just been spending time with the kids and looking after them. I've got the weekends back so it's been cool."

Mannering expects he'll get itchy feet when he sees his former teammates run out but is confident he won't regret his decision to hang the boots up.

"I'm sure once the game comes around I'd love to be playing but I'm sick of being beaten up. Once you start seeing all the hits you think 'it's a good time to finish'. Hopefully they can do well, I'm really looking forward to all three teams playing."