Forbes Ferrari versus the Lebanese Lamborghini: Mansour driven to beat former club

The Forbes Ferrari up against the Lebanese Lamborghini.

South Sydney kindly reminded Penrith this week they were coming up against Josh Mansour, the popular winger the club virtually cut loose 48 hours after last year’s grand final to be replaced by rookie flyer Charlie Staines.

Forbes Ferrari vs the Lebanese Lamborghini … Charlie Staines and Josh Mansour.Credit:NRL Photos

While Staines is known as “Ferrari” at Penrith, Souths happily gave Mansour his own moniker on social media by labelling him their “Lebanese Lamborghini”.

Mansour is one of the nicest guys in rugby league but politely declined all interviews this week.

His forced exit from Penrith with one year remaining on his deal remains a sore point. Especially after Mansour stayed loyal for so many years, including 2014 when he was in tears and begged Phil Gould to make him any offer, despite a whopping three-year deal on the table from Canberra.

Mansour’s return from a hamstring injury comes just in time to face former club Penrith on Sunday afternoon in Dubbo.

While Penrith’s preference for Staines was what forced Mansour out of the club, the two are unlikely to meet on the field with the Rabbitohs recruit named to number up against Brian To’o.

Staines has scored eight tries in 10 games with 16 tackle-busts this season, and at only 20 was favoured over Mansour as a long-term prospect by Penrith. However, 30-year-old Mansour has run for more metres with 25 tackle busts in just five games this campaign.

Mansour’s Souths teammates are certainly glad he’s wearing the red and green – but are clearly not as sold on his new “Lebanese Lamborghini” nickname.

“‘Sauce’ [Mansour] is a bit more like a rusty old Volvo from the 1990s,” forward Liam Knight said. “Unless he’s chasing a grubber over the tryline, that’s when he really clicks into gear.

“He’s robust and breaks those tackles. He’s certainly up for this weekend. But then again I’ve never seen him down. He’s one of the most positive people who has this awesome energy. He’s just a good bloke.

“I’m sure he’s more excited than most weeks for this game, which is natural against a former club, but Sauce is a weapon. He’s so important for us and we’re happy to have him back.”

Fellow forward Keaon Koloamatangi laughed about Mansour and quipped: “Lebanese Lamborghini? He’s more like a Hyundai. He goes alright.

“The stuff that went on with Penrith, he obviously wants to have a big game. We’ve missed him getting our sets started, and he’ll be great this weekend against a great team.

“He just brings that toughness, he’s so tough to get on his back, and he needs a lot of people to take him down.”

Souths welcome back Latrell Mitchell from a four-match ban while the Panthers, including Dubbo products Isaah Yeo and Matt Burton, are chasing an eleventh straight win in as many games to start the year.

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