Willie Mason poised for Rovers exit - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Willie Mason poised for Rovers exit

By Ian Laybourn 22/04/2011 05:00:41 PM Comments (0)

Controversial Australian forward Willie Mason has almost certainly played his last match for Hull KR.

The 31-year-old second rower, who is just six games into a three-year contract with the Super League club, has been summoned for clear-the-air talks after being de-registered on the eve of the Good Friday derby.

He was removed from Rovers' squad for Friday's clash with Hull FC at the KC Stadium to make room for fellow countryman Michael Dobson, who has now recovered from injury.

The club are unable to play both men because their overseas quota is full and they have so far been unable to secure a Tongan passport for Mason which would enable him to get around the restrictions.

Although Rovers remain confident of eventually securing the necessary paperwork with help from the Tongan Prime Minister, they are thought to be ready to part company with the player after he held secret talks with French rugby union club Toulon.

Mason was last week spotted in the south of France chatting to Mourad Boudjellal, the wealthy president of the big-spending Top 14 club who are thought to have offered to quadruple his current wages.

While Mason is off Rovers' register, he remains on their payroll and the club have made it clear that Toulon would have to pay a transfer fee to secure the services of the colourful international.

In a statement, Hull KR said: "In view of recent rumours circulating about Willie and a move to French rugby union, the club will not be pursuing dialogue with the RFL for a discretionary dispensation provided by the rules given these circumstances.

"The club will be meeting with Willie and his agent shortly to discuss media reports linking him with a move to French rugby union.

"The club's position remains that Willie is retained under the terms of a contract of employment and that no direct approach has been made for his services."

Dobson was de-registered on March 10, shortly after undergoing ankle surgery, to make room for Mason and the Rugby Football League say they have approved the reversal.

The most recent development clearly paves the way for Mason to make the move to France and provide yet another twist to a controversial career.

Courted by Huddersfield when he decided to leave the NRL, Mason chose Craven Park as his next destination but he missed the first month of the season after being delayed by the red tape that followed him to the north of England.

He finally arrived, to a fanfare reception, on March 7 and made an impressive Super League debut against Crusaders just six days later.

However, Mason has made little impact in five appearances since then, although he scored his first try for Rovers on his 31st birthday against Wigan last Friday.

Mason, who signed a two-year contract with an option for a third season at Craven Park, now looks destined to follow in the footsteps of another controversial former Canterbury Bulldogs player, Sonny Bill Williams, who walked out on his NRL club to pursue a career in French rugby union.

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