An impressive World Cup run with Lebanon has served as a powerful reminder to former Panthers and Rabbitohs winger Josh Mansour of his love of the game and has helped him stave off thoughts of retirement at the age of 32.
Mansour is still without a deal for 2023 as CBA talks continue to stall. While he has been able to court interest from a number of clubs, none of them can make an official offer until salary cap figures are known.
While the last two seasons in Redfern have seen Mansour struggle for form and a starting place in the NRL, he told the Sydney Morning Herald that a successful World Cup campaign with the Cedars has reignited both his passion and confidence heading in to 2023.
“The desire and the fire in the belly has always been there,” Mansour told the Herald.
“That's never gone away. I will always love competing, it's in my DNA.
“It was almost a case of losing my confidence the past couple of years, and I felt a bit lost at South Sydney. Things never panned out the way I'd imagined they would.
“Nobody was to blame, it just didn't work out. I couldn't find any rhythm, which was a shame.
“But going to the World Cup was the best thing for me. I loved playing under Michael Cheika, he was such a motivator. I learned how to have fun again, I was reminded how much fun it is to play the game.”
Mansour revealed he was training with a number of younger members of the Cedars squad, but the national team's success has had other consequences as well.
“James has since picked up a train-and-trial with the Tigers, and Elie now has a train-and-trial with the Roosters, so now it's just me training on my own.
“There's no way I want to retire. Hopefully, when I do get a call-up, I'll be fit and ready to go right away.”
There were reports that Mansour had been courting interest from Super League sides during his time in the UK, though that now seems less likely.
Much like Martin Taupau, Mansour now finds himself reinvigorated by the World Cup but left in contract limbo thanks to the protracted negotiations.
In another blow to those players still chasing a contract, the Herald has reported that it's widely believed that any progress in terms of the CBA will not be made until the new year.