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Mannering wins Warriors Player of the Year award

Vodafone Warriors captain Simon Mannering became only the second double winner of the Lion Red Player of the Year accolade at the club's gala awards dinner at the SKYCITY Convention Centre.
Mannering wins Warriors Player of the Year award
by NRL

Vodafone Warriors captain Simon Mannering became only the second double winner of the Lion Red Player of the Year accolade at the club's gala awards dinner at the SKYCITY Convention Centre.

After previously winning the award in 2008, Mannering matched the twin wins in 2005 and 2006 by Steve Price, the man he succeeded as captain last.

Mannering was one of the four finalists for the NRL Captain of the Year title at the Dally M Awards in Sydney last week.

The youngest captain in the club's history, Mannering is one of only three players who have appeared in each of the Vodafone Warriors' 25 matches so far this season. He's set to make it 26 on end when he leads the side in his 144th career appearance in Friday night's NRL semi-final against Wests Tigers.

Mannering was honoured in front of 600 guests, marking a year in which he has been named the players' player of the day five times so far. He has been on the field longer than any of his team-mates this year - 1931 minutes - and also averages the most minutes per game of all the forwards (77.2). He averages 30.6 tackles a game (only Micheal Luck heads him), 80.5 metres a game and he is second on the side's list of off loaders behind Feleti Mateo.

Former winner Luck and first-year Vodafone Warrior Mateo were nominees for the premier award along with Aaron Heremaia, Kevin Locke and James Maloney.

There was a strong field in line for the Vodafone NRL Young Player of the Year Award including four first-grade debutants in Shaun Johnson, Elijah Taylor, Glen Fisiiahi and Pita Godinet as well as second-year NRL players Alehana Mara and Bill Tupou. All except Godinet are NYC graduates, Johnson, Taylor, Fisiiahi and Tupou all members of the 2011 premiership-winning Vodafone Junior Warriors.

Winning the title was Johnson, who turned 21 just last Friday. Since making his NRL debut against the Sydney Roosters in June, Johnson has appeared 13 times, scoring six tries - most of them spectacular long-range efforts - and quickly establishing himself as a playmaker. While he has made only 13 appearances, he already has 13 try assists to his name, only Maloney leading him with 15 in 24 matches. He also has six line breaks, six line break assists and 36 off loads while he averages 73 metres a match.

Nominees for the Canterbury of New Zealand Club Person of the Year Award were last year's winner Heremaia, Jacob Lillyman, former winner Micheal Luck, Jerome Ropati, Taylor and another ex-winner Manu Vatuvei. The winner was Ropati who, after having his season ended by a knee injury in March, has been heavily involved in community and promotional work for the club. A key driver of the club's One Community League in Libraries initiative, Ropati has also been nominated for the NRL's supreme One Community award, the Ken Stephen Medal.

Earlier in the evening Locke was named the winner of the Vodafone People's Choice Award.

In another feature, a special presentation was made to departing Vodafone Warriors head coach Ivan Cleary, who has guided the club to the NRL finals four times in the last five years. In all Cleary has spent 10 years with the club, first as a player from 2000-2002 followed by a year as assistant coach in 2005 and six seasons as head coach from 2006.

Also acknowledged for his contribution to the Vodafone Warriors was departing 10-year veteran Lance Hohaia, who has played 182 times at NRL level since his debut in 2002.

Announced during the dinner were the nominees for the Vodafone Warriors' NYC Player of the Year Award to be named at the Vodafone Junior Warriors' annual awards dinner at SKYCITY next Wednesday night. In contention are captain Ben Henry, Konrad Hurrell, Sam Lousi, John Palavi and Omar Slaimankhel. The winner receives the Sonny Fai Memorial Medal.

The Vodafone Junior Warriors have gone straight through to week three of their finals after backing up their minor premiership success by blasting Newcastle 54-6 in their qualifying final in Brisbane last week.

Winners of the Warriors Player of the Year Award:

1995 Tea Ropati
1996 Stephen Kearney
1997 Stacey Jones
1998 Joe Vagana
1999 Jason Death
2000 Robert Mears
2001 Jerry Seuseu
2002 Ali Lauitiiti
2003 Francis Meli
2004 Wairangi Koopu
2005 Ruben Wiki
2006 Steve Price
2007 Steve Price
2008 Simon Mannering
2009 Micheal Luck
2010 Manu Vatuvei
2011 Simon Mannering

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