Kiwi trio announce Test retirement

Three big-name New Zealand forwards have retired from international rugby league, leaving gaping holes to fill for this month's Test against England.

Simon Mannering, Ben Matulino and Russell Packer have all pulled the pin, having firstly confided with new Kiwi coach Michael Maguire, who will name his squad for next week's Denver Test on Sunday.

Former skipper Mannering ends one of the great international careers, having tallied 45 Tests. The Warriors stalwart is the fourth-most capped Kiwi behind Ruben Wiki (55), Gary Freeman (46) and Stacey Jones (46).

Wests Tigers props Matulino and Packer - both former Warriors - have clocked up 23 and seven Test caps respectively.

Mannering and Packer were part of New Zealand's failed 2017 World Cup campaign, a tournament missed by the injured Matulino.

There is no suggestion any of the trio had pressure placed on them by their clubs, with the distance and timing of the Test considered highly disruptive by many NRL coaches and officials.

Mannering was the only player quoted in a New Zealand Rugby League statement, saying he had considered hanging up his representative boots since the World Cup.

"The idea of taking a Test to the United States is really exciting for the game but I think it's a good time for younger players to be given every opportunity," he said.

"I was honoured to wear the Kiwi jersey every time and it's been a huge privilege having the chance to play alongside so many outstanding players."

Maguire praised Mannering for his contribution and said he would call on the 31-year-old's knowledge at some point.

Mannering is currently also weighing up his club future, having conceded this could be his 14th and final Warriors season.

The 31-year-old became a Test regular following his 2006 debut.

His career highlight was the 2008 World Cup final win over Australia, when he played as a centre.

He assumed the captaincy from Benji Marshall for two years from 2013 and was named Kiwis player of the year in 2014.

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney, who also played 45 Tests, said Mannering's retirement was a selfless decision.

"This decision emphasises once again how he always puts others before himself," said Kearney, who has indicated he won't select players for the round 16 match against Cronulla if they play in Denver.

Matulino, 29, would have been a strong Denver contender following a resurgent season at the Tigers. His reasons for retirement are believed to be to spend more time with a young family.

Packer's eligibility for the US Test was in doubt because of his criminal record, having been jailed for a year in 2014 for assault.