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Try drought over, Mansour now wants to reign over ex-teammates

Penrith winger Josh Mansour immediately offered a smirk and a "without a doubt" response when asked if there will be a few heated words with Parramatta players in Friday's Battle of the West.

The clash holds extra spice as the Panthers line up against former teammates Waqa Blake and Reagan Campbell-Gillard for the first time following their abrupt 2019 exits. 

Blake's mid-season departure to the western Sydney rivals last season caught many off guard with the Fijian international inking a deal with the Eels despite being sidelined with an ankle injury.

However, rumblings about Campbell-Gillard's exit at the Panthers, which was confirmed last September despite five years remaining on his contract, surfaced a few months earlier after he had spent most games coming off the bench under Ivan Cleary. 

Campbell-Gillard has been open about his departure from his former club, citing his unhappiness and lack of desire in the final months before praising his new life under Brad Arthur as recently as this week.

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"A massive game, they're our rivals down the road and are title contenders, I have no doubt there will be some words … without a doubt," Mansour told NRL.com.

"It wasn't the way they wanted to leave the Panthers and in a perfect world we would have liked them to stay.

"Especially with Reg, he's Penrith through and through. It was disappointing to see him leave but good to see he's happy again and playing good footy.

"We just have to do a good job on him. There'll be that fire in the belly, there always is when you play your old club."

Match Highlights: Panthers v Warriors

Mansour's second-half try against the Warriors was his first in 18 games – the longest drought of his NRL career.

It couldn't have come at a better time for the 29-year-old with a match-up against Parramatta's Blake Ferguson waiting in the wings.

"It didn't really play on my mind but being in the position I am you want to be scoring as many tries as you can," Mansour said.

"I had a few disallowed during that period too which hasn't helped so it was nice to get over the line.

"Hopefully the more games we can play as an edge the more it can develop especially with Kiks [Viliame Kikau] always dangerous and ready to flick an offload.

"And Critta [Stephen Crichton] has always had big raps on him coming through the ranks and now he's made it to the NRL he's got so much talent to show.

"We've also got Brent Naden who is working hard and is definitely going to keep competing with Critta for that spot."

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The Panthers learnt their lesson in their 14-14 draw against Newcastle in round three to come out after half-time and dominate the Warriors last Friday.

"The difference was we didn't put the Knights to the sword when we had the chance and at the end it did feel like a loss," Mansour said.

"We were better for the second week getting used to the rule changes and will have to be better again this week."