A sheepish Josh Mansour was forced to apologise after being confronted by referee Grant Atkins following an outburst at a touch judge on Sunday afternoon.
Penrith belted South Sydney 56-12 in Dubbo and Rabbitohs winger Mansour lost his cool when the Panthers received a penalty for obstruction after Nathan Cleary put up a bomb close to the Bunnies’ tryline.
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Adam Reynolds was deemed to have interfered with Viliame Kikau chasing through but Mansour didn’t agree and gave the sideline official a bake.
Atkins heard the spray and promptly called Mansour over to lay down the law.
“Josh, come here. Don’t you dare have a go at him (the touch judge),” Atkins said. “That’s my call, you don’t speak to him like that again.”
Having been pulled into line, Mansour managed a meek apology. “Alright, I’m sorry,” he said.
Fox League commentators Braith Anasta and Warren Smith joked Mansour had been banished to the “naughty corner”.
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Souths’ day only got worse as they collapsed to a 44-point loss in country NSW. The return of Mansour, Campbell Graham, Latrell Mitchell to the cardinal and myrtle ranks did little to quell the Penrith onslaught, as the Rabbitohs bled 50 points for the second time in three weeks.
As the scoreline blew out, many were left scratching their heads when Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett opted against injecting veteran playmaker Benji Marshall into the action.
Marshall, who was given the flick by the Tigers at the end of last season, has proven a handy pick-up for the Bunnies, turning the clock back to become both a versatile replacement for injured teammates and the perfect secret weapon off the bench.
The 36-year-old would have done better to spend the 80 minutes at Dubbo’s Western Plains Zoo, however, as he played not a single second in Sunday’s shellacking.
Asked whether he thought about subbing the 2005 premiership-winner into the game, Bennett didn’t have to think too hard before answering.
“No I didn’t, I wasn’t going to embarrass him,” the super coach said. “We weren’t defending (well) … Benji’s not known as the greatest defender the game’s ever seen”.
Bennett called the Rabbitohs’ loss “pretty disappointing”, but conceded that the Panthers put on a “wonderful” performance in the central west.
“They played great football,” Bennett said of the ladder-leaders.
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