Smith not crowing for Mason to return - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Smith not crowing for Mason to return

By Samantha Broun 06/11/2009 04:58:30 PM Comments (0)

New Sydney Roosters coach Brian Smith said he doesn't care if Willie Mason turns his back on the NRL club to play rugby in Japan.

Mason, who has one year remaining on his lucrative contract with the Roosters, is currently exploring his playing options with various Japanese rugby clubs - with the full blessing of the Roosters.

Smith said on Friday he expected to know of Mason's decision in the next week or two and wasn't expecting him at pre-season training in the near future.

And Smith was ambivalent as to whether he would have the services of the former NSW and Australia second-rower in 2010 - where he hopes to turn last season's wooden-spooners around.

"I've got no control over it, so I'm not concerning myself with it," Smith said of Mason's trip to Japan.

"If it works out that Willie comes back and he's here and he wants to play well we'll deal with that then.

"But if he finds another business opportunity that he likes and the club are happy about that, well then I'm not going to knock myself out about that either.

"I think my position is pretty obvious, it's just that I'm a realist and I'm going to deal with anybody who's here and is ready to play football for the Roosters and if they're not well, I'm not concerned about it."

Asked whether he would like to see Mason see out the final year of his reported $450,000-a-year-deal, Smith said:

"I'd like him to make sure that he makes a good decision for himself that's all I'm concerned about at the moment.

"The Roosters club, we'll get on about our business whether Willie's here or he's not.

"No club's about one person on one thing so at this point in time we're doing our business and Willie's doing his."

The Roosters have adopted the slogan "New Attitude, New Beginning" ahead of the 2010 season.

They are desperate to rebound from a terrible 2009 which was plagued by embarrassing on-field performances that led to a last-place finish and a litany of alcohol-related off-field incidents.

Smith said he was not dwelling on the myriad of issues the club endured last season, and was looking forward to the season ahead.

"There are a lot of people everywhere within our club that are hurting pretty badly," Smith said.

"It's embarrassing and it's difficult to deal with when you have a tough season ... I think we probably tend to dwell on the negative stuff a bit too much.

"I'm trying to set the example here for everyone, there's not too much to be gained from looking back at last year.

"I think mostly we should be focused on what we're doing right now and what we want to achieve by the middle of March next year."

Smith said he was confident of securing the services of former representative prop Jason Ryles, who is keen to return to the NRL after a stint with French Super League club Catalans.

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