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22 Jul 2017 4:51
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Departing Vatuvei adamant he's no legend

    Manu Vatuvei will lead the Warriors out for one last game before he heads to Salford, but is uncomfortable at being described as a legend.

    - article from www.rugbyleague.co.nz

    Stacey Jones
    Stacey Jones

    Warriors legend Manu Vatuvei can't stop laughing at the suggestion he might be immortalised in bronze outside Mt Smart Stadium.

    "I wouldn't do that - no-one would want to come to the game," he said at the thought of a life-sized statue gleaming at the stadium entrance.

    Equally, the idea that the 226-match NRL veteran qualifies as a legend of the club after a 13-year career with the Warriors is quickly brushed aside.

    The 31-year-old wing is distinctly uncomfortable being mentioned in the same breath as players such as Stacey Jones, Ruben Wiki, Micheal Luck and Simon Mannering.

    "To be honest, I don't think I'm a club legend, with the likes of Stacey," he said.

    "I'm just lucky to have survived this long at one club and kept doing what I love to do."

    The Warriors have granted Vatuvei an early release from his contract, and the big winger will be leaving on Sunday to join up with Salford in the English Super League.

    Before then, however, he'll lead the Warriors out for one last match at Mt Smart Stadium, temporarily re-named Manu Vatuvei Stadium on Friday.

    Vatuvei has been named for the last time in the No.5 jersey, although his selection is honorary as his new contract precludes him from playing.

    Instead, Ken Maumalo will start on the left wing against the Penrith Panthers.

    Vatuvei's teammates will also have his name, Warrior number and signature embroidered into their playing jerseys.

    Managing director Jim Doyle says there's no debate about Vatuvei's mana and standing at the club.

    "The word 'legend' is thrown around quite a lot, but if it sticks on some people, Manu is definitely one of them," Doyle said.

    Ongoing knee and calf injuries have restricted Vatuvei to just one NRL appearance this season, but he has a storied history with the club.

    He is the first player in NRL history to complete the feat of scoring 10 tries or more in 10 consecutive seasons, and is the Warriors' all-time leading try-scorer with 152, with Jones a distant second on 77.

    But Doyle says it's Vatuvei's work in helping develop the Warriors' next tier of players that set him apart.

    "He's evolved a lot as a person - he's taken on more of a leadership role, mentoring some of the younger ones coming through.

    "He'll be sorely missed."


    NZN




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