Debut was a dream come true for Josh Mansour

NO one likes getting a phone call from the coach when they're running late to training.

But that dreaded call became the one Josh Mansour had been waiting a lifetime to receive.

The Penrith Panthers flyer made his blistering first grade debut against the Melbourne Storm on Saturday night after learning of his selection on the wing in a similarly enthralling moment.

"I was driving to training on the M5 and my front tyre popped," Mansour said.

"I had to pull over, change the tyre and I thought I was going to be a bit late so I gave Ivan a call and he didn't answer.

"I ended up calling [trainer] Ronnie Palmer to let him know what happened and Ivan called me.

"I saw his name on the phone and thought I'd been busted — but that's when he popped the question and I freaked out.

"It was unbelievable and I got to training as quickly as I could."

Just as a failed tyre couldn't stop Mansour in his travels, a fierce Storm weren't able to sour his initiation into the NRL.

The 21-year-old scored one of Penrith's two tries and trailed only Melbourne fullback Billy Slater in making the most tackle breaks of any player on the field.

"I loved the feeling and hopefully I can get a few more," he said of his four-pointer.

"I was in shock but when I saw the boys running towards me it was the greatest feeling."

Mansour ran onto the field before kick-off and said playing top tier footy was a childhood wish come true.

"It's been my dream ever since I started playing rugby league," he said.

"We didn't get the result that I wanted but win, lose or draw, I was happy to play with the boys."

At 17, Mansour said he had "nowhere to go" before being invited to join the North Sydney Bears, working his way into the South Sydney Rabbitohs' Toyota Cup squad and scoring a two-year contract with the mountain men from this season.

Next on his agenda is retaining and cementing a jersey in the Panthers' weekly line-up.

"I thought it would take longer to settle in but I'm not going to complain and hopefully I can just keep my spot," he said.

"I want to keep playing hard, getting involved, defending strongly and hopefully win more games."

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