Josh Mansour backs Panthers to make the finals

Comeback: Josh Mansour scores a try in his comeback match against the Wests Tigers on Sunday.  (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Comeback: Josh Mansour scores a try in his comeback match against the Wests Tigers on Sunday. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Returning winger Josh Mansour is confident that the Penrith Panthers can still make the finals at the end of this season.

Mansour made his return from a knee injury on Sunday in the Panthers 35-12 win over the Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval.

Although Mansour's comeback was the major talking point before kick-off, it was his fellow winger David Simmons who stole the show.

Simmons racked up his 98th, 99th, 100th and 101st career tries in the Panthers' comprehensive win, becoming just the 65th first-grade player to reach the 100-try milestone.

Mansour also grabbed a four-pointer upon his return from another frustrating sideline stint.

After starting the season in the casualty ward, Mansour only played a handful of games before re-injuring the medial ligament in his right knee.

After initially being told he was out for 10-12 weeks when he re-injured his knee, Mansour tried to fast-track his comeback. He had been named to return for the local derby with Parramatta four weeks ago but said his accelerated return didn't go to plan.

Footwork:  Dean Whare of the Panthers evades the tackle of Kyle Lovett of the Wests Tigers during the round 16 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Penrith Panthers at Leichhardt Oval. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Footwork: Dean Whare of the Panthers evades the tackle of Kyle Lovett of the Wests Tigers during the round 16 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Penrith Panthers at Leichhardt Oval. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

"I just had to stay as positive as I could — the moment you drop your head, it's going to be a long season," he said.

"We have a great rehab team and they get me back on deck as fast as they can."

Now he's fully fit again Mansour has his sights on helping the Panthers make another charge for the top eight.

Thanks to their win over the Wests Tigers, they are back to ninth.

"There's still a long way to go and we're around the middle of the table at the moment so give us a couple of wins and we'll be right back up there," Mansour said.

"The competition is so bloody close, we just want to aim up and do the fundamentals right."

The Panthers play the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Pepper Stadium on Friday night. Kick-off is at 7.45pm.

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