Mannering, 26, has been revealed as Benji Marshall's successor in the captaincy role for this year's World Cup. Marshall was informed of the decision in a conversation with Kearney earlier this week and was told the switch would allow him to concentrate on improving his form.
"It was an agonising decision on my part and one that I certainly took a great amount of time over," Kearney said. "And in that process, every time I was thinking about a suitable replacement, Simon kept coming to mind and it was a no-brainer from my point of view."
Kearney added: "He's a well-respected individual in the rugby league community; he's played 30 Tests now for us. Every time he plays for the Kiwis, he delivers."
Kearney explained that the decision to replace Marshall had been at the back of his mind for some time but was wary of offending the Tigers star, who he reassured will continue to play an important role within the squad.
"He remains an integral part of what we're about, he's a member of the senior leadership group and his input is still very much valued," Kearney said of the 28-year-old playmaker.
"In terms of his disappointment, he's not going to hide that. He's a big lad and he's overcome hurdles before.
"His focus now is all about performing and doing well so that we can retain the World Cup."
- Sports & Recreation
- Benji Marshall