Willie Mason named on bench for Cowboys - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Willie Mason named on bench for Cowboys

09/03/2010 07:49:54 PM Comments (0)

North Queensland coach Neil Henry hopes Willie Mason can provide the spark from the bench to power the Cowboys over the line against Brisbane in Friday's NRL blockbuster.

Henry said memories of last year's heart-breaking 17-16 loss to the Broncos in the season-opener was fresh in the players' memories.

Asked his expectations from Sydney Roosters recruit Mason, Henry said: "I'd like some impact off the bench (from Mason)

"I thought he was good in the Darwin trial (against Gold Coast).

"He's been training really well and gradually getting back into the contact side of it.

"He takes a bit of pulling down in the tackles so hopefully he'll get a bit of momentum for us."

Henry said in fairness to the Cowboys forwards who have done the job in the past, he was never tempted to name Mason in the starting side.

"I think he'd be better coming off the bench," the coach said on Tuesday.

"We can use him in the middle or out the edge.

"I think he's got 40 minutes in him. Whether we need to use him for 40 minutes, time will tell but I think he's comfortable with that."

Mason adds to an imposing Cowboys forward pack boasting Carl Webb, Luke O'Donnell, Matt Scott, Antonio Kaufusi and young guns Steve Rapira and James Tamou.

Former Test prop Webb has undergone scans after suffering a minor calf strain and will be assessed on Wednesday.

A Peter Wallace field goal was the only difference between the teams in round 1 last year, a fact not lost on Henry.

"We still have memories of that game and we'd like to reverse that result," he said.

With star fullback Matt Bowen sidelined, Ty Williams will wear the No.1 jersey.

"He's been very sharp at the back," Henry said.

"I've been very happy with his trial form.

"He's worked hard on his flexibility and strength in the off-season."

Henry said he expected the Cowboys back-rowers to protect gun halfback Johnathan Thurston after the skipper copped a heavy hit from Gold Coast half Greg Bird in a recent trial match in Darwin.

"He's very brave with his defence," Henry said about his prize No.7.

"We need to make sure the back-rowers protect him.

"He doesn't hide defensively but sometimes he needs to ease the workload a little bit."

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