Mason makes feisty start at Cowboys - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mason makes feisty start at Cowboys

By Laine Clark 09/02/2010 08:40:23 PM Comments (0)

He's back.

Following months of uncertainty, Willie Mason officially announced his NRL return at Townsville on Tuesday after accepting a lifeline from North Queensland.

And the results could only be described as classic Mason.

At his first press conference in Cowboys colours, Mason took a shot at the "fat businessmen" at other NRL clubs who knocked back his services before claiming he had been "character assassinated" by the Sydney media.

But the 24-Test veteran made it clear that there would be "no excuses" if he did not make his move north a success in 2010.

Mason, 29, admitted that he had purposely signed a one-year deal with the Cowboys to put pressure on himself.

"When you are under pressure, and your livelihood is on the line ... I have never been in that position before," Mason said.

"I am interested to see what I have got."

Last season Mason was much maligned in a disastrous year for the Sydney Roosters as he returned from a knee reconstruction.

But Mason said history showed players coming back from the major operation could reclaim their form in their second year back.

"Have a look at (Mark) Gasnier and Hodgo (Justin Hodges) ... their second year is much better because they are confident," he said.

"I was just happy to get through each game last year.

"By the back end of the year I was playing some alright football, I thought I was holding my own out there.

"This year there is no holding back, I will be coming out of the blocks 100 per cent.

"I've got no excuses this year.

"I will be fit, I will be ready to go - nothing is going to stop me from playing good football."

While he admitted he "wasn't the player he once was" last year due to the knee operation, Mason was still angry that every NRL club except Newcastle and North Queensland snubbed him when he was offered up by the Roosters.

"When you look at it, you've got the coach, most senior players and CEOs coming out saying 'yeah we want him at our club', but it gets to a board meeting and you've got fat businessmen making decisions on your career," he said.

"It wasn't taking on a toll on my pride or anything, it made me angry a little bit."

Mason also had a beef with the Sydney media, saying he did not know where the "NRL bad boy" tag had come from.

"It was a bit of a joke wasn't it," he said of his portrayal in the media.

"It was a bit frustrating at the end ... the media pretty much character assassinated me.

"I was perceived as a monster really.

"But I never assaulted women, been done for DUI, I haven't done anything - my conscious is clear."

Mason admitted late interest from Newcastle - where his little brother Rodney plays - "made me second guess" his move.

But after being warmly embraced by Townsville people on the street since his arrival on Monday, Mason was primed to chime into a "pretty scary pack" at the Cowboys.

That could be as early as next week in a trial against the New Zealand Warriors in Cairns.

He said success for the Cowboys could even help retain skipper Johnathan Thurston who is considering a code switch.

"If we have success this year no one will want to go anywhere," Mason said.

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