RUGBY LEAGUE: Simon Mannering has been ruled out of the upcoming Four Nations campaign in England.
The long-time Kiwis captain did not travel to Perth for last Saturday's 26-6 loss to Australia to give him an extra week to recover from a minor knee injury, but it wasn't enough time.
"He's up and running, but his knee isn't game ready,” Kiwis team doctor Greg Macleod said.
"We have maintained regular contact with the NZ Warriors medical staff and we were optimistic that Simon would be ready for the tour. It turns out he needs a bit more time to make a full recovery.”
It's a massive blow for the Kiwis. They badly missed his defensive capabilities last Saturday, as well as the leadership he provides.
"Simon is a big loss for us,” admitted Kiwis coach David Kidwell. "His leadership, experience and work ethic are really valuable, but I'm confident in my senior playing group to demonstrate those characteristics, on and off the field.”
James Fisher-Harris, 20, replaces Mannering and Kidwell said he was excited to have the Penrith forward in the squad.
"He was really high on our list for the initial squad, but narrowly missed out,” he said. "We are fortunate to have this calibre of player to call on.
"He's come through the NZRL pathways and has performed at a very high level in the NRL. I'm looking forward to getting him in camp.”
Fisher-Harris will join the team tomorrow, when they assemble in Auckland before leaving for England.