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Injured Mannering out of Four Nations

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/10/2016
<span style="font-size:13px;">A knee injury robs the Kiwis of former skipper Simon Mannering for the Four Nations tournament.</span> © Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images A knee injury robs the Kiwis of former skipper Simon Mannering for the Four Nations tournament.

Kiwis coach David Kidwell is calling on his senior forwards to step up and fill the void left by injured veteran Simon Mannering at the Four Nations.

Influential former skipper Mannering was ruled out of the tournament starting in England and Wales next month by a knee problem which also sidelined him from last week's 26-6 loss to Australia in Perth.

His place goes to uncapped 20-year-old Penrith prop James Fisher-Harris.

Kidwell was philosophical after Kiwis doctor Greg Macleod told him Mannering's knee hadn't recovered as quickly as hoped when he was named in the squad two weeks ago.

"Simon is a big loss for us. His leadership, experience and work ethic are really valuable," Kidwell said.

"But I'm confident in my senior playing group to demonstrate those characteristics, on and off the field."

Mannering, 30, has played 41 Tests and succeeded Benji Marshall as captain in 2013.

He missed both Tests against the Kangaroos this year, with Melbourne Storm's Jesse Bromwich stepping up as skipper. Kidwell is excited by the potential of versatile Junior Kiwi Fisher-Harris, who was named for the Test in Newcastle in May but withdrew with injury.

Formerly from Rawene in Northland, Fisher-Harris has enjoyed an outstanding rookie NRL season, having cemented a spot after injuries blighted the Panthers early in the year.

He played 23 games for the Sydney club and scored five tries.

"He was really high on our list for the initial squad, but narrowly missed out. We are fortunate to have this calibre of player to call on," Kidwell said.

"He's come through the NZRL pathways and has performed at a very high level in the NRL. I'm looking forward to getting him in camp."

Fisher-Harris will join the team in Auckland on Wednesday before they leave for England.

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