Incredible year keeps getting better for Mansour
Josh Mansour has had the sort of year that few could ever dream of, and it's only going to get better over the next few weeks.
The 26-year-old made his State of Origin debut for the NSW Blues, re-signed with the Penrith Panthers for two more seasons, was named Dally M Winger of the Year, and now, after a two-year hiatus, is set to again represent the Kangaroos.
Mansour played four matches for Australia at the 2014 Four Nations and rates it as the highest honour any player can strive for.
"It's very special the way the year has panned out for me. To be given this shot again to play in the green and gold is enormous," Mansour told NRL.com.
"In my eyes, I think this sits at the top. It's a privilege to wear this jersey because you don't get many opportunities to play for your country.
"I don't think this year can get any better, but I hope it somehow does. I'm just grateful for what this year has been for me. It's definitely one of my most memorable years.
"Coming off the year I'd had last year, I just wanted a fresh start. I had multiple injuries and I just couldn't catch a break, and all I wanted to do was to show people I was worthy for representative honours and deserved to wear this jersey again.
"I got to re-sign with the club for another two years, so it's just been an unbelievable 12 months."
While he paid tribute to his teammates and the coaching staff at the Panthers, Mansour said nothing topped the support shown to him by fianceé Daniella Toutounji.
The pair are set to get married on the same day as the Test against the Kiwis, and while it means he won't get to play in Perth, it's a sacrifice he's more than willing to make.
"I'm grateful for my fianceé because she's been my number one supporter all this time," he continued.
"There have been a lot of sacrifices made and she's always been there to support me."
Before he ties the knot with his soon-to-be bride, Mansour has spent the past few days enjoying his buck's week in Las Vegas.
That's where he found out about his national selection, and while it has been a chaotic 48 hours or so since, Mansour is champing at the bit for the opportunity to play for the Kangaroos again.
"I was getting congratulations text messages, and thought 'Congratulations? What for? I'm not married yet.' I was a bit confused at first but then it sunk it what had happened," he said.
"I was over the moon and all my mates were going crazy. We had one last night in Vegas so there was time for one last hurrah.
"I got back yesterday (Wednesday). I was actually meant to get back at 6:30 in the morning but our plane ended up being diverted to Melbourne. It was all a bit of a fiasco so I didn't get back to Sydney until 3pm.
"I was hoping to go home and grab a few hours of sleep but I pretty much had to get home, shower, get my suit on and go to the Panthers presentation night. I'm pretty tired now, but it's all been worth it."