Mason named to make Cowboys debut - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mason named to make Cowboys debut

16/02/2010 08:03:03 PM Comments (0)

North Queensland fans will get their first look at new Cowboys recruit Willie Mason when he makes his debut in a trial against last year's Queensland Cup grand finalists Northern Pride in Cairns on Saturday.

Mason will be keen to win over the fans he once referred to as "rednecks" and others who threatened to rip up their jumpers when it was confirmed he was joining the Cowboys.

North Queensland will play two trials at Browne Park, the second featuring skipper Johnathan Thurston, Luke O'Donnell and Carl Webb among the majority of players coach Neil Henry will call upon to open the season next month against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium.

Mason is in the second string team after training privately throughout the off-season while he sorted out his playing future.

He also needs time to adjust to the harsh north Queensland humidity.

NRL clubs will roll out strong sides for several trials at the weekend, the Broncos and Canberra naming near full-strength squads for their clash at Ballymore on Saturday.

Brisbane coach Ivan Henjak's forward pack, headed up by Nick Kenny and Ashton Sims, will be "very close" to the one which starts the season although other positions, including fullback, wing and left centre, remain open.

Exciting youngster Corey Norman has been named at fullback for the injured Josh Hoffman (ankle) while Steve Michaels slots onto the wing with Indigenous All Star Jharal Yow Yeh on crutches recovering from a medial ligament strain.

The Wests Tigers and Sydney Roosters also named NRL-strength line-ups for Sunday's Foundation Cup pre-season trial at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Tigers coach Tim Sheens has given young gun Robert Lui first crack at the halfback position inside Benji Marshall.

"This kid's as good a kid as I've seen at that age with ball in hand," Sheens said of the No.7.

"We just need to bring up his confidence level and when he starts dominating (hooker) Robbie (Farah) and Benj (Marshall), that's when I think the kid will show the class that he's got but at the moment I'm just going to blood him slowly."

New Roosters boss Brian Smith named recruit Todd Carney at fullback with Mitchell Pearce and Ben Jones in the halves, while Queensland State of Origin forward Nate Myles will play lock.

Injured captain Braith Anasta (ankle) and former St George Illawarra prop Jason Ryles (quad) are the only big names missing.

Anthony Minichiello, who was named on the wing, will captain the Roosters in Anasta's absence.

South Sydney named five-eighth John Sutton (neck) and second-rower David Taylor (ankle) in a strong side to be captained by Luke Stuart for Saturday's clash with Gold Coast at Coffs Harbour.

The Titans named former Test five-eighth Greg Bird in the No.6 jersey as he begins his quest to resurrect his NRL career.

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