Liberal Party approached NRL star Mansour to run against opposition leader at election

NRL star Josh Mansour has rejected an approach from the NSW Liberal Party to run for government at the March state election.

The can reveal a representative of the Perrottet government approached the off-contract Mansour to run against Labor leader Chris Minns in the marginal seat of Kogarah.

The un-signed Josh Mansour rediscovered his love for league playing for Lebanon at the World Cup.

PA

While Mansour considered making the switch from rugby league to politics, he rejected the approach from the Liberal Party.

“It started as a conversation to see if I was interested in trying to make a difference,” Mansour told the when approached for comment on Tuesday.

“As much as I was flattered to be considered and approached, I gave it some thought and decided against taking up the opportunity.

“I want to focus on my young family. I also still believe I have something to offer in the NRL. I’m not giving up hope of continuing my career. I’m training hard and holding out hope that an opportunity in the NRL will present itself.”

The understands the Liberal Party is not confident of winning the seat of Kogarah and wanted to lure a high-profile representative to draw the attention of Minns.

Mansour, who is of Lebanese and Portuguese heritage, has a strong following among the ethnic community. He was a fan favourite throughout his NRL career at both the Penrith Panthers and South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Mansour has played rugby league at the highest level, representing NSW and Australia at the peak of his career.

The 32-year-old was one of Lebanon’s best players at last year’s Rugby League World Cup, where the Cedars bowed out in the quarter-finals against eventual winners Australia.

Josh Mansour has left the Rabbitohs after playing five games for the club last year.

Getty

Mansour still hasn’t given up hope of resurrecting his career despite playing just five games in the NRL for South Sydney last season.

“I know I can still play in the NRL,” Mansour said. “I’m still in the best shape of my career and haven’t stopped training. I’m not ready for a new chapter just yet. I still believe I have something to offer an NRL team with my experience.”

Minns faces a high-profile challenge in his seat from gaming industry whistleblower Troy Stolz, who says he is contesting the March election to highlight his opponent’s failure to back poker machine reform.

Stolz, who worked for the lobby group ClubsNSW as an anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing auditor, will run as a “reform pokies independent” in Minns’ seat.

It is Labor’s most marginal seat, with redrawn boundaries cutting Minns’ margin from 1.8 per cent down to 0.1 per cent.

The whistleblower, who exposed lax money laundering compliance in poker machine venues, said: “Chris Minns is in the pocket of pubs and clubs. He is backing vested interest and is failing his community.”

Minns has supported a trial of a cashless gaming card but has stopped short of supporting the universal removal of cash from poker machines, despite a key recommendation from the NSW Crime Commission calling for a mandatory cashless card to combat money laundering.

( Information from politico.com was used in this report. Also if you have any problem of this article or if you need to remove this articles, please email here and we will delete this immediately. [email protected] )

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