Murray urges Cowboys to punt on Mason - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Murray urges Cowboys to punt on Mason

By Jim Morton 28/01/2010 06:36:27 PM Comments (0)

Former coach Graham Murray believes the Cowboys wouldn't regret throwing Willie Mason an NRL lifeline, expecting he would repay them 10-fold.

Murray, who led North Queensland from 2002-2008 and coached Mason in State of Origin, felt a desperate Mason wouldn't let any potential saviour down.

Unwanted by the Roosters, Mason's last hope of staying in the NRL lies with the Cowboys as a string of rival clubs have opted against taking a punt on the controversial forward.

While North Queensland officials continued to conduct their "internal research" on Thursday, Murray said the former Test star would be an asset.

"I know he's had a couple of misdemeanours but I'd probably put them aside and have a crack at him because if you showed some faith in him I reckon he'd give it back to you 10-fold," he said.

"I think Willie is in a place where anywhere would be a good place for him because I imagine he would feel a bit neglected at the moment.

"But he'd certainly handle Townsville no problems."

Murray's comments come as leading Cowboys players Johnathan Thurston, Willie Tonga, Aaron Payne and Luke O'Donnell have all voiced support for Mason.

If the club's management do decide to make an offer, the Cowboys are likely to get the 24-Test forward at a bargain basement price.

Murray's association with Mason dates back more than 12 years to the Hunter Mariners when Mason arrived at the Super League club as a 17-year-old and then continued in 2005 and 2006 as NSW Blues coach.

Like other leading coaches, Murray believed Mason had fine leadership potential, but also understood the care NQ's board felt it needed to take.

"Well Craig Bellamy has given him a wrap and Des Hasler, Bob Fulton; those guys know people and I know Willie reasonably well and I would speak highly about him," said Murray, appointed Australian women's league coach on Thursday.

"I've got all the respect in the world for Willie."

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