Mannering ready to make impact
Kiwi second-rower back for must-win clash
Last Updated: 10/11/11 4:01pm
Mannering: Back to face England
Simon Mannering hopes his big-match experience will count when New Zealand face England in their must-win Four Nations match this weekend.
The second-rower, who was rested for last weekend's 36-0 win over Wales at Wembley, is poised to return to Stephen Kearney's starting line-up for the clash at Hull's KC Stadium.
Kearney opted to take the New Zealand Warriors captain out of the firing line against the Welsh, with the 25-year-old having played in all but 75 of his club's 2480 on-field minutes this season.
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All of his statistics are impressive, with him making an average of 32 tackles a game as well as making 81 metres and, after guiding his side to the NRL Grand Final, he is looking forward to another big occasion this Saturday.
"To get to the final (against Australia) would be nice and who knows what could happen after that," he said.
"It was a new experience for myself (getting to the NRL final), but it's a nice one to have. It was disappointing to lose it, but any game like that you can get positives out of."
Mannering was a member of the 2007 All Golds party that toured England, celebrating a century of rugby league in New Zealand.
The Kiwis were on the wrong end of a 3-0 series whitewash against Great Britain, though, with the tour proving a watershed moment for the sport in the country.
Kearney was installed as coach not long after and has since guided the side to the 2008 World Cup and 2010 Four Nations titles.
With that in mind, Mannering knows England, who suffered poor results in 2008 and 2010, cannot be underestimated.
"Any team can improve," he said.
"Two thousand and seven was very disappointing but we got a few things sorted between there and 2008 and managed to win the World Cup.
"I think England will be pretty disappointed with their Four Nations last year, but this year they seem to have got together.
"They're definitely a side that doesn't mind throwing the football around and have individuals that can create something out of nothing."
For all their recent successes, though, the Kiwis do not have the greatest of records on British soil.
As well as their 2007 horror show, they lost to England at Huddersfield in 2009, robbing themselves of a place in the final, and Mannering does not want history to repeat itself.
"There's a lot on the line for both teams and we'll be doing everything we can to get the win," he said.
"I haven't played too many times over here. It is a big challenge for the side and one we're hopeful for."