Mansour ready to tackle the Titans
Thursday 28 March 2013 2:45 PM
As the Panthers prepare for their match against the Titans on Sunday we chatted with winger Josh Mansour about what the Panthers will need to do to get the win.
Despite a tight loss last week the Panthers showed promising signs in the way they dug in and launched a second half comeback that saw them only a couple of unlucky conversions hitting the posts away from taking the lead. Josh touched on the momentum the team will take into the Titans match from their second half performance, “In the second half we came out with a lot of pride and self-belief. I think we were lacking in a bit of self-belief in the first half but we know if we can play like we did in the second half for the full 80 minutes it will go a long way in helping us win matches this year. I know our defence wasn’t up to scratch last week and we need to be better in that aspect to get the win against the Titans.”
Josh had a break-out season last year which culminated in him being named The Rugby League Players’ Association “Rookie of the Year” and he will be coming up against another young winger on the rise in David Mead. When asked about his previous encounters against Mead and what he will need to do to contain him Mansour said “I’m pretty confident coming up against him, last time I managed to get around him a couple of times, but to contain him I will have to get my positioning right, he is very quick so I’ll have to be on my game and definitely position myself well.”
For the Panthers scoring points hasn’t been a problem in their opening three matches, however this week they will face a Titans team who have only conceded 26 points this year. Josh is backing the team’s attacking ability and says if they continue to “play with good shape and run hard lines with aggression and intent it will help us put attacking pressure on them. We have a big forward pack and fast outside backs and I’m sure it will be a good game this week.” The Panthers will take a head to head lead into the match and their last encounter at Centrebet Stadium saw the Panthers come away with a 36-22 victory. They will be looking to add to this advantage and continue their strong attack at home which has seen them score 64 points in their two home games this year.
Focussing on Josh’s personal performances this year he was asked if getting into dummy-half and the offloads he has been producing is something natural or something he has specifically worked hard on, Josh said that part of his game is something he has always had, “To be honest it comes natural, I haven’t really practiced it in the off-season or anything like that. It’s just become habit and has been working so I’m not going to stop. I wasn’t happy with some of my offloads last week but it did come off a few times and now it’s in my game I’m not going to stop unless it backfires on me.”
The Panthers will head into Sunday’s game accustomed to playing in warm conditions having played three straight Sunday games to open the year. Mansour believes that the Panthers should be well conditioned for the game but doesn’t think it is a big advantage, “The games we have played so far it has been very warm and we have to expect it to be hot again and prepare ourselves mentally and physically for the heat. We take each game as it comes, it doesn’t matter what day it is on we just have to have our minds focussed on the game.” In summing up his thoughts on the Titans match Josh made a point of the team needing to be more switched on in defence. “We have conceded some pretty soft tries in the last few weeks so if we can eliminate them it will make a huge difference. We just have to trust each other and work as a unit and that will help us out defensively.”