No NRL lifeline for Willie Mason yet - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

No NRL lifeline for Willie Mason yet

By Wayne Heming 02/02/2010 08:06:05 PM Comments (0)

Player power may not be enough to guarantee Willie Mason an NRL lifeline from Newcastle.

While North Queensland coach Neil Henry was in Sydney on Tuesday chasing water-tight assurances from Mason that he'd toe the line at the Cowboys if they offered him a deal, Newcastle's football committee was preparing to debate the merits and dangers of bringing him home to play at a meeting on Wednesday night.

Newcastle board member and Knights great Paul Harragon declined to comment on Mason's prospects of linking with the club this season despite a vote of support from senior players, led by Kurt Gidley.

"I can't comment because I am on the (Knights) board," said Harragon, a 169-game at the club.

Steve Burraston did not return AAP's calls to explain the club's position.

Newcastle though remain in damage control after forward Danny Wicks, facing eight drug related offences, voluntarily terminated his contract in December.

While Mason would solve his loss in the pack, signing a player with his off-field track record has risks which will be thrashed out before any official approach is made.

It's understood Mason has been told to "hold off" making a decision with the Cowboys until after Newcastle's football committee - which includes chairman Robert Tew, Burraston, new coach Rick Stone and Harragon - have met.

A source close to the club said in days gone by Mason's ability would be enough to get him a contract.

"Everyone knows what attributes Willie can bring," he said.

"But clubs these days have to make decisions based on more than just what the player brings as a footballer.

"It's a package now and off-field is just as important as on-field, you have to take all those things into consideration.

"It's not just simply can the guy play any more."

It's been revealed Stone held a secret meeting with Mason to assure him of the club's interest.

It's thought Mason's connection with Newcastle could be a settling influence on the out-of-favour Rooster who has missed contract offers already from Melbourne and Manly who were clearly turned off by his string of off-field misdemeanours.

His younger brother, Rodney, plays for the Knights under 20 side and his mother lives in the outer Newcastle suburb of Toronto.

Meanwhile incoming South Sydney coach John Lang has guaranteed a big crowd for Saturday's "Return to Redfern" trial against Manly by naming his NRL All Star representatives, Englishman Sam Burgess and former boom Bronco Dave Taylor to make their Rabbitoh debuts.

Lang will use a squad of 26 players, including 10 players from the Toyota Cup squad and several from their North Sydney Bears feeder club.

The game will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Souths' 19th premiership, a 23-12 victory over Manly-Warringah in the 1970 grand final.

Twelve players from Souths' 1970 side, including captain John Sattler who played a majority of that match with a broken jaw, will be present.

The Broncos also named an inexperienced 26 man squad for their first pre-season trial against Brisbane Norths at Nundah on Saturday with most of their stars rested.

The club also confirmed defensive coach and former premiership hitman Peter Ryan had left the club to pursue business interests.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2020 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news