Penrith and NSW winger Josh Mansour is coming to grips with life as an Origin player but after two brilliant performances in five days for state and club says it's all part and parcel of the game.
Mansour was excellent in NSW's 18-14 Origin III win (other than one very expensive missed bomb that led to a Darius Boyd try) and was best on ground in his team's come-from-behind win over Parramatta, racking up almost 250 metres and an absurd 15 tackle busts.
He admitted afterwards to being "pretty buggered" but said Penrith's precarious ladder position and a desire to get his club into the finals means there's no point waiting for someone to feel sorry for you – you just have to get on with playing.
"I'm pretty buggered to be honest," Mansour laughed after his club's 22-18 win.
"As a winger you don't make too many tackles and you don't waste too much energy on the edge so I wanted to try and do whatever I could to try and rev up the boys and I find I do that with my carries."
He said the gruelling six-week Origin period had been both draining while also confidence-boosting.
"It is obviously draining, it's very physical and backing up after an Origin game is very tough and it was something new to me," he said.
"I've learned a lot this year; it's definitely made me more of a confident player. What I've learned from Origin is there's no excuses, no-one's going to feel sorry for you backing up.
"You just have to help the team and at the moment, Panthers, we're in a tough spot on the ladder (ninth) and we really need to win all our games. I just want to keep backing up for the boys and now the Origin period's over I can just solely focus on Penrith and getting in finals contention."
Mansour could also afford a smile at the end of an odd week that saw him celebrate an emotional Origin win with best mate and former club-mate Michael Jennings – before putting Jennings' Eels to the sword five days later. And, in particular, cashing in on Jennings' hamstring strain by tormenting Parramatta's makeshift edge defence in the second half when Beau Scott got moved to right centre.
"From teammate to arch rival!" laughed Mansour.
"It was a funny week like that… I saw him come off, hopefully the injury's not too serious but knowing 'Jenko' I'm sure he'll come back firing. It was a bit strange seeing him in opposition colours, he's also my best friend so I'll call him and give him a bit of stick after this!"