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Mansour still fuming over first career sin-binning

It was the first time in his NRL career that Josh Mansour held onto his frustrations after a game his side had won.

He's never wanted to get involved in referee bashing. Mansour respects the role match officials play and their ability to make tough decisions under pressure.

But a week later and his 10-minute spell on the sidelines in last week's away victory over Melbourne still bothers him.

The former Australian winger was pinged for a professional foul, ruled to have grabbed Storm winger Justin Olam in a try-scoring opportunity – a call that prompted much debate on whether the NRL Bunker got it right.

Leading into the Telstra Premiership finals, Mansour doesn't want a close call deciding a match. The Panthers kick off their campaign hosting the Warriors at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.

"There's been some calls that I haven't weighed into the discussion, I've never wanted to, but once it happened to me, I just thought it's a joke," Mansour told

"The perfect example on the weekend was my sin-binning. Even if I grabbed him [Olam] with one arm, he's not going catch a ball flying out of the dead-ball line with one arm.

Panthers winger Josh Mansour.
Panthers winger Josh Mansour. ©Greg Porteous/NRL Photos

"I think I vented my frustration clearly. Everyone heard it on the television. I think I said what everyone else was thinking. It was the first sin-binning of my rugby league career. I didn't take it well, obviously.

"I just knew the importance of that game and when it happened I thought I'm letting my teammates and friends down."

Whether the decision was right or wrong, Mansour said from a player's perspective that it was frustrating to see match officials offer a black and white approach to decision-making.

"From a player point of view it is frustrating. I'm not here to bag the refs, I know they've got a job to do," he said.

"We are the most penalised team, that is concerning on our behalf. I've always thought we don't get the rub of the green when it comes to 50-50 calls."

NRL senior referees manager Bernard Sutton met Cameron Ciraldo during the week after the Panthers coach requested clarification on several rulings.

"It was good, we got a good understanding on what they're looking for and appreciated his honesty and feedback. We're going to try and control what we can control," Ciraldo said.

"I won't go into specifics because it was a good conversation behind closed doors. For us it was understanding what they were looking for. By the end of it we both had a good understanding so it was positive.

"We're ready for whatever happens. If there are a lot of penalties we'll deal with it. We'll try and defend it anyway we can. If there's not we'll get a free-flowing game which will suit us."

Penrith lost to the Warriors 36-16 in round 24 and a repeat performance will see the side bow out of the finals.

But their win over Melbourne in enemy territory last week has given the side confidence and ensured the game will be played in Sydney this week, a venue the Warriors have found tough going over the years.

"This time of the year it's all about effort on effort," Mansour said.

Panthers v Warriors - Elimination Final

"I'm coming up against a quality winger in David Fusitu'a. I've got to put my body on the line every time.

"We're excited, we've fought hard to get to this point. This is what you train hard for. They've got too many talented players that can hurt you, we've got to limit that and keep the game in a grind." 

Mansour also weighed in on Canterbury's Mad Monday antics after they were hit with a $250,000 fine on Thursday, giving an insight into a player's mentality when their season comes to an end.

"With general footballers, because our life is all about routine, routine, routine for nine months, when you get the opportunity to let your hair down, sometimes you can get carried away," he said.

"The whole Mad Monday concept, the first thing people think of is footballers going wild and being crazy. It's not the case that rugby league players are bad people or doing everything to make idiots out of themselves.

"I'm sure the Bulldogs club took up that venue thinking no-one would be there and it's a private setting.

"As the years go on the game gets bigger and a player's brand and reputation is further in the spotlight. You should take responsibility for that. We have a brand to uphold and the NRL have high expectations.

"I don't think the past can help justify future actions. It's just disappointing it happened on the eve of finals footy. This is one of the most open competitions I've ever been a part of and it's a shame the headlines have been about that this week."

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