Manly rules out bid for Mason - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Manly rules out bid for Mason

By Ed Jackson and Jim Morton 27/01/2010 06:51:10 PM Comments (0)

Wendell Sailor says a determined Willie Mason would prove a revelation for any NRL club which signs him and it may be North Queensland who wins.

The Cowboys revealed on Wednesday they were looking into casting a possible NRL career lifeline to the former NSW and Australia representative, who has been told he has no future at the Sydney Roosters.

And while Manly became the latest club to rule out a rumoured move for Mason, Sailor believes the big forward has been unfairly regarded as a possible problem player.

The dual international, who resurrected his own career and public reputation after a two year drug-related ban, says Mason has done nothing as bad as some other high-profile footballers.

"I feel for Willie," Sailor told AAP.

"It's sort of a naughty little schoolboy thing, a few little things and all of a sudden people have you as an outcast.

"He hasn't done anything that bad like myself and some other players in the game have done over the years and yet he's tarnished a little bit.

"Some clubs don't want to take a risk with him but I've had a bit to do with Willie over the years and I just think at the age of 29 or 30, he's a Clive Churchill medal winner and got a lot to offer.

"A Test forward, Origin forward and I reckon he's sitting there now thinking whoever throws me a lifeline, I'm going to repay you ten times over."

"I was sitting there for two years myself and the Dragons did that for me. They're going to get him at a good price I think."

But after Manly joined other NRL clubs such as Melbourne and the Dragons by publicly denying an interest in Mason, it seems Townsville and the Cowboys could be the 194cm prop's best chance at redemption.

Cowboys chief executive Peter Parr said he'd had a coffee on Monday with agent Sam Ayoub, who'd been acting on Mason's manager's behalf in gauging North Queensland's interest in signing the ex-Blue.

Parr said he would research Mason's background and hold internal discussions about a possible deal, but stressed nothing concrete had been confirmed.

"The team dynamics and ensuring that different personalities can gel together and things like that are also important and they're the sort of things we have to work through before we make a decision," Parr told reporters.

"I would like to have kept this as a private matter ... to have the contents of the conversations leaked to the media is a little bit disappointing."

But at least for Mason's sake, unlike Manly, Parr seemed to at least be entertaining the idea and suggested coach Neil Henry was interested.

"I think he's got an open mind about it, Neil," Parr said.

"He understands the importance of having a good forward pack and he understands that Willie at his best can add to our pack."

Parr, however, denied any move to sign Mason would be an attempt to keep star halfback Johnathan Thurston at the club.

"They're two separate issues, and even if it was I wouldn't consider it," he said.

"There's no way in the world I would make an approach to Willie Mason just as a lure to make Johnathan re-sign."

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