Competition - NRL Premiership

Round - Round 02

Teams – Bulldogs v Penrith Panthers

Date – 10th or March 2016

Venue – Pepper Stadium Penrith, Sydney NSW

Photographer – Grant Trouville

Description –

City Stepping-Stone

He has seven international appearances under his belt – three for Australia and four for Lebanon – but Josh Mansour has never played for the KARI City Origin team, or represented the VB Blues.

It is far from your standard representative jersey progression, but the powerhouse winger is excited to pull on the blue and gold jersey for the first this Sunday against VB Country, which could be a stepping-stone for a potential Origin jumper down the track.

He is also thriving under the experience of coach Brad Fittler, who has picked a young squad for the clash at Scully Park, Tamworth.

“I don’t know exactly what to experience at this point, but I’m very excited and it’s a massive confidence boost just to be here,” Mansour told NSWRL.com.au.

“I can’t wait to see what Sunday has got to offer, and I just want to keep doing what I’m doing.”

“I’ve heard some good things about Freddy, he’s got a lot of experience in the blue jumper as well so his experience is going to be very valuable to me.”

Mansour last represented Australia in 2014, but upon selecting the side for tonight’s ANZAC Test match-up against New Zealand, coach Mal Meninga said the Penrith winger was in the selection discussions.

That in itself was a huge boost for Mansour, who aims to take back his green and gold jersey in the distant future.

I was a little bit disappointed in not getting picked for the side but I’m not kicking stones over it,” Mansour said.

“To be even mentioned as a possibility was very fulfilling, I’ve been happy with the way I’ve been playing at Penrith during the year.

“In saying that, I’m not going to drop my head, I want to eventually be there at the end of the year.”

The Panthers played in Bathurst last week against the Canberra Raiders, and the Country-City clash is played in different country towns each year.

Promoting the game in the Country is a huge deal for Mansour, who will be hoping to entertain some locals in the first row with some trademark power-runs down the left sideline.

“I’m looking forward to getting to play in Tamworth, I’ve never played there before,” Mansour said.

“It’s massive to get us players out in the bush, people out there don’t really get much experience face-on.

“I’m sure it will be very exciting for those that attend the game and I’m very excited to be playing in the country.”

Mansour’s individual club form has been outstanding to start 2016, and he has made the VB Blues Team of the Week on five occasions.

Six of Penrith’s nine games have had a margin of two points or less, something that he admits the team have to fix moving forward.

“I’m not going to lie, it’s been a little bit frustrating, I think we should have put teams to the sword a bit earlier in the game and we keep letting teams in,” Mansour said.

“But in saying that, it’s a long year, we’re still gelling as a team under a new coach and I’ve got full confidence in the team we’ve got and the players that we have.”

“I’m very excited to see what this year has got to offer.”