SportPenrith winger Josh Mansour reveals 'demons' he battled after horrific facial injury
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Panthers winger Josh Mansour has revealed the "demons" he battled after a sickening facial injury usually seen in car crash victims.
Mansour sustained five fractures to his face and eye socket in round six last year when Gold Coast Titans flyer Anthony Don's knee crashed into his face while contesting a kick.
So serious was the damage that the 28-year-old could have lost an eye and his NRL career. Penrith's doctor said it was the worst cheekbone injury he'd seen in 40 years in the job.
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After major surgery and 13 weeks in the casualty ward, Mansour made his comeback late last season and the powerful outside back admitted he was initially apprehensive.
He has been down on form this year and some pundits have questioned whether he is still gun-shy after the injury.
Following a week in reserve grade, Mansour produced his finest performance in 2019 as he ran for 193 metres in Penrith's sorely needed 16-10 win over Parramatta on Thursday in a sign his confidence is returning.
Speaking on Triple M Saturday Footy, Mansour detailed the debilitating effect the injury had.
"It was very difficult, to be honest," he said.
"Just the way it happened – of course being a winger, my position as well, sitting under a high ball and kind of getting my face smashed definitely played on my mind.
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"I had a lot of demons after it but in saying that, I had to kind of flush that and make positives because at the end of the day it was a freak accident.
"It was pure just unlucky at the time and I just kind of had to get on with it.
"I'm living the dream, I'm very grateful to be in the position I'm in and I have to keep reminding myself that it was a freak accident."
Adding to Mansour's concerns this season has been a shoulder problem that he's held since the opening match.
He should have sat out around a month to recover – instead, he pushed through the pain and believes his football has suffered as a result, culminating in his axing to the Canterbury Cup.
"It hasn't been one of my best years, obviously. But in saying that, in round one I ended up stuffing up my left shoulder which I carried throughout the start of the year," he said.
"I think it's really played on my performances and it got to a point where it ended up getting me dropped, so I didn't want to use that as an excuse but it's definitely played a major part in the way I've been playing."
"I think the biggest thing I wanted to take out of playing reggies was having fun, doing my job the best way I could."
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