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Panthers winger Josh Mansour.

Last year Penrith flyer Josh Mansour scored eight tries in 15 games. This year he has just one from 18 games – and it was scored back in round four.

The former Test and Origin winger is having his leanest year since 2014, when he scored four, and it's a far cry from the jubilant times of 2016 when he crossed 16 tries.

While four-pointers have been scarce for the 29-year-old, he's making an average of four tackle-busts and three offloads per game. He's run in excess of 100 metres in all 18 games so far and five times he's zoomed past the 200-metre mark.

"Definitely up and down," Mansour told in an honest appraisal of his year to date.

"I felt like I had a great pre-season but from round one I felt like I wasn't in form.

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"It's frustrating in a way because you've done everything asked of you in the pre-season and come into the competition feeling confident.

"Then that first game knocked me around. I got injured and then carried niggles. But it feels like the back end of the season I've hit my straps again."

The footy gods seem to have abandoned him a little. He's been pulled up on a few forward passes and put his boot into touch with the line beckoning.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't frustrated. And the ball hasn't been coming my way as much as it has in the past. I'm working as hard as I can with all the blokes inside me to practise our edge shifts," Mansour said.

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"We've got a young side so we've just got to get our chemistry up together and keep on climbing as a combination."

The unflappable Mansour won't be defeated, even if he's been scratching his head a lot in 2019.

"This year has been the toughest for me personally," he said, which is a big call considering he tore an ACL in 2017 and had severe facial fractures in 2018.

"Sometimes even though you train hard, you feel like the hole you're in is getting bigger under you.

"You start to let a couple of doubts in. The people closest to me try to help but in the end I've got to go out and  change it.

"Sometimes it only takes a win and I thought it began to start for me – and the team as a whole - since Parramatta and we have been building from there."

The round 11 win at Bankwest Stadium started the run of seven straight victories. Then two losses were followed by last weekend's win over the Sharks to put them back to seventh on the ladder.

That's what makes the Friday night game at Suncorp Stadium against the Broncos so intriguing. Firstly it is a clash between two clubs with the fountain of youth flowing through them this year. Secondly only one competition point separate them with the Broncos in eight spot.

"It is the Broncos home turf and they are a very good young team with lots of second-phase footy. They have a big pack so it will be a physical battle," Mansour said.

Two of the Panthers latest bloomers are forward Spencer Leniu and centre Stephen Crichton. They made their NRL debuts last weekend and have kept their places on the strength of those performances.

"Spencer, for such a young age, seems to have no fear. He's solid in his contact and so quick off the mark for a forward. He's great to have in the team," Mansour said.

"Stephen is a skilled payer as well so he just backed himself with that leap for the ball at the back end of the Sharks game. It was a crucial play – a game-changing moment. The ball was swirling in the wind, and we were on the back foot.

"But he's made that catch to make it an awesome night for himself his team and the club."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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