Josh Mansour claims being cut by Penrith has lit a fire in him and he’s determined to prove himself at South Sydney for the first time in years.
Mansour is a month into his two-year stint at the Rabbitohs after being told by the Panthers in November he would not be in their top 17 in 2021.
The winger’s move marks a return to Souths 11 years after he played under-20s there alongside Adam Reynolds before leaving in search of an NRL debut.
But after previously playing for NSW and Australia, Mansour is eying one of the biggest years of his career after his Penrith move.
“It’s pulled me out of my comfort zone and it’s invigorating,” Mansour told AAP.
“It’s just really set a new fire in me and I can’t wait to see what the challenge ahead is.
“It gives you extra motivation. When I was at Penrith all I wanted to do was play there my whole career.
“I have been in the same place for so long … I wasn’t losing motivation, but it was a comfort zone.
“It’s a fresh start, a new challenge. You’re not starting from scratch but it’s a chance to prove yourself.”
The 30-year-old decided within days he wanted to make returning to South Sydney his priority, after Penrith told him he could look elsewhere.
But it didn’t make the conversation with Ivan Cleary and Panthers football boss Matt Cameron any easier, with Charlie Staines set to pinch his wing spot this year.
“I wanted to move on as fast as I could, I could tell there was no hope for me to stay,” Mansour said.
“The first day I got told I just let it sink in and just copped that bitter pill, but the next day I was already on the phone to my manager.
“I had this belief that it was all going to work out for the best. But it was hard to switch off because I had this doubt just hovering around me.
“I was holding up better than my wife. She is a rational thinker and there were so many variables.
“Where am I going to take my family and raise my kids? Where are we going to move and look for houses.”
Mansour scored 12 tries in 22 games last year, but his ability to offer Souths some much-needed power early in sets will be as vital as anything else.
“The forwards have set an expectation,” he said.
“But I know what I need to bring and what I needed to do for the team. I will definitely be measuring myself in that way.”