An injured Simon Mannering will not play at this weekend’s Auckland Nines rugby league tournament. New Zealand Warriors Coach Andrew McFadden made the announcement today.
“Simon Mannering has come out, he has had a couple of little niggles so we decided not to risk him. We will focus on getting him ready for the start of the season,” said McFadden.
The tournament starts on Saturday at Eden Park, with a near sell-out crowd expected.
The TAB has indicated the Warriors as heavy favourites to win outright. They are paying $3.25 compared to $9.00 for last year’s champions North Queensland.
Warriors and Kiwi star halfback Shaun Johnson is expected to kick on with the fine form he found last year, and earned him the Golden Boot award for the best player in rugby league.
“The Four Nations was a big confidence boost for him and he has proved he can perform in the big moments. Now he has got to do the job for the Warriors as well,” said McFadden.
Johnson added that “there is a confidence in the team that we can do well”.
The Warriors’ first game kicks off at at 2.25pm on Saturday.
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