Warrior Manu Vatuvei battles to new NRL milestone
HE HOLDS the record for the most NRL tries by a New Zealand-born player, and now Warriors winger Manu Vatuvei is set to become one of the longest-serving NRL players of all-time.
The 29-year-old has reportedly signed a new three-year deal that will keep him at the club until at least the end of the 2018 season.
That would extend his career to at least 15 seasons, taking him past players including Cliff Lyons (Manly, 14 seasons), Anthony Minichiello (Roosters, 14), Hazem El Masri (Bulldogs, 14) and Steve Menzies (Sea Eagles, 13).
It would elevate him alongside former Eels great Nathan Hindmarsh, and put him within reach of Andrew Ettingshausen, Darren Lockyer and Jason Croker.
ET spent 18 seasons at the Sharks after making his debut as an 18-year-old schoolboy in 1983, while Lockyer was at the Broncos for 17 seasons and Croker at the Raiders for 16.
While he has had his critics, Vatuvei has been one of the most popular players at the Warriors since making his NRL debut as an 18-year-old in May 2004.
He has played 201 games and is on track to overtake club record-holder Stacey Jones who made 264 appearances for the Warriors.
Vatuvei scored a double in his 200th game for the club against the Tigers in round six, taking his total to 141
He needs just four more tries this year to complete the unprecedented feat of scoring 10 or more tries in 10 consecutive NRL seasons.
He also scored two tries for the Kiwis in last year's Four Nations final against Australia, overtaking Nigel Vagana's record for the most Test tries for New Zealand (20 in 27 Tests).