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Iosefa's late call-up adds to his value

Joe Barton 23/05/2011 05:15:04 PM Comments (0)

Penrith utility Masada Iosefa hopes his impressive late call-up performance in Saturday night's heartbreaking 20-18 loss to Wests Tigers will help cement his spot in the top 17 for the rest of the NRL season.

Iosefa, who had not played since round four against Brisbane, knew early in the week that he would again be left out of the squad to face the Tigers.

When the team was putting the finishing touches on their warm-up, Iosefa was in the room next door tucking into some dinner and getting ready to watch the game from the stands.

It was only then that a trainer found him and told him regular five-eighth Travis Burns had been ruled out at the last minute.

Burns, who had been battling a knee injury in the lead-up to the match, had rolled his ankle in the warm-up before suffering an adverse reaction to a pain-killing injection which hit a nerve.

"I was stuffing my face next door when they came and told me, and I had about 20 minutes before the game to get changed and get my head ready for the game," Iosefa told AAP.

"It definitely was a crazy night, but you've just got to be ready for anything. Footy's footy. Something like that can always happen."

The 23-year-old filled in admirably at five-eighth opposite Tigers' superstar Benji Marshall, scoring Penrith's opening try and impressing coach Matt Elliott during his 48 minutes on the ground.

"It's a pretty big ask (coming into the team just before kick-off) isn't it?" Elliott said.

"He scored a fairly handy try for us and he did a pretty good job, he tanked a little because he was playing out of position and there would've been a fair bit of nervous energy as well.

"But he contributed to us getting in front that's for sure."

Iosefa said he would learn from his Marshall challenge, and that he hoped his audition in the halves might help him win back the utility role he had lost to new recruit Nafe Seluini in recent weeks.

"Being opposite Benji is really tough because anything can happen so I was always pretty much one-on-one with him," the youngster added.

"It's a lot harder than (defending) in the middle when you don't have to make many decisions.

"Out wide it's pretty much one-on-one, but I handled it pretty well I thought.

"I am available (to play in the halves again), so if he puts me there I'll play there again but we've got a great team and we've got great halves.

"I'd love to (stick with my utility role off the bench).

"Hopefully Burnsy will be back next week and strengthen our side even more."

Both Iosefa and Burns are expected to be named on Tuesday, however Burns will have to pass a fitness test on his ankle in order to face South Sydney.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

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