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Mannering in line for Kiwis greatness

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/05/2017 Steve Zemek

As he prepares to etch his name in the Kiwi pantheon, veteran back-rower Simon Mannering has revealed he never felt assured of winning back his spot in the New Zealand Test squad

The former Warriors and Kiwis skipper will notch up Test No.42 in his beloved black and white jersey against Australian in Canberra on Friday night.

It will also represent his first Kiwis appearance in two years after missing the 2016 Anzac Test and Four Nations through injury.

Mannering can take his Test total to 47 by the end of this year's World Cup, a feat which would leave him behind only Ruben Wiki, who played 55 Tests between 1994 and 2006.

Barring injury or a lapse in form, he looks set to pass Kiwis greats Gary Freeman (46), Stacey Jones (46) and his Warriors coach Stephen Kearney (45) over the next seven months.

Mannering, who turns 31 in August, was non-committal about his future beyond his contract with the Warriors which expires at the end of 2018.

"I've got another year or so at the Warriors so I'll probably assess after that," he said.

Mannering has been a staple of the Kiwis side since making his debut against Australia in the Tri-Nations in 2006.

He will make his first representative appearance since the 2015 Anzac Test and revealed he was at times worried he might be unable to win his spot in David Kidwell's squad back.

"I've had a couple of years out and we have real depth in New Zealand rugby league now," Mannering said.

"I never think I'm certain of a spot in this team. Every time I get a chance I'm thankful."

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