Mannering will skip Test after knee clean-out
RUGBY LEAGUE: New Zealand will be without former captain Simon Mannering for Saturday's trans-Tasman Test as he continues his recovery from minor knee surgery.
Mannering had a clean-out operation on his knee last month and remained in Auckland while the rest of the Kiwis' 24-man squad gathered in Perth for the nib Stadium clash with the Kangaroos.
The 30-year-old Warriors forward has been given an extra week to get his body right and will link up with the squad when players reassemble in Auckland next Wednesday before flying to the UK to begin their Four Nations defence.
Melbourne Storm back-rower Kevin Proctor is the only other player still to join the squad and is expected to arrive in camp today.
The absence of Mannering, the Kiwis most experienced player with 41 Test appearances, is a blow to new coach David Kidwell's plans of avenging the side's 16-0 loss to Australia in the Anzac Test in Newcastle in May.
Mannering missed last year's two-one series loss to England with illness and the Anzac Test with injury.
Kidwell opted to retain Storm player of the season Jesse Bromwich as skipper for this week's one-off Test and the subsequent Four Nations campaign.
Incumbent fullback Jordan Kahu said the side was united under Bromwich but believes Mannering would still play a big role among the side's leadership group.
"Jesse carries himself really well and a lot of boys look up to him,” Kahu said yesterday.
"Everyone's behind him 100 per cent, so I'm sure he'll lead the way for us.”