Mason wants future settled by week's end - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mason wants future settled by week's end

By Tom Wald and Daniel Pace 12/11/2007 07:52:21 PM Comments (0)

Willie Mason wants his future decided by the end of the week after beginning his own pre season training with a solo run at Centennial Park.

The disgruntled Bulldogs Test forward held a promising meeting with Cronulla coach Ricky Stuart, while Sydney Roosters chief executive Brian Canavan visited NRL headquarters to discuss salary cap issues which could thwart their bid for Mason.

St George Illawarra confirmed they have one or two positions vacant on their 2008 roster, plus the likely inclusion of suspended Wallabies winger Wendell Sailor, while English giants Wigan are Mason's only overseas option and the most lucrative.

"I want to be training with a team at least by Monday or during next week," Mason told the Nine Network.

"I'm sick of it dragging on, I'm sick of dragging the Bulldogs through it and my teammates who stuck by me."

One thing is certain, Mason won't be mending any burnt bridges at the Bulldogs despite receiving a breach of contract notice.

Less than a week after the board gave him permission to negotiate with other clubs, the Bulldogs advised Mason he would need to front a `show cause hearing' on Tuesday November 20.

It is claimed Mason failed to attend functions, wear club sponsors' clothing and missed scheduled photo shoots on behalf of the Bulldogs.

But the hearing is unlikely to go ahead, with Mason only needing to request a contract release to sever all ties to the club.

"I'm not fronting any board. I don't have to, they don't want me to," said Mason.

"They said I can negotiate with another club so I'm doing it."

Those negotiations continued as Mason met Stuart, while other suitors crunched the numbers to finalise their offers.

Sharks chief executive Tony Zappia said the discussions were "positive" and Cronulla would not be offloading any players to fit Mason under the cap.

"We met with him this afternoon and we'll formalise an offer in the next 48 hours," said Zappia.

The Roosters remain favourites, but coach Brad Fittler admitted releasing lock Ashley Harrison to the Gold Coast on a three-year deal was a necessity just to get below next year's cap and it remains a tight fit trying to recruit Mason.

"We were above the salary cap so we had to trim it down somehow and it was getting complicated," Fittler told the Seven Network.

Harrison said Mason would fit in nicely at the Bondi Junction club.

"Mase will be fine. He can fit in anywhere I think," said Harrison.

"He's played a heap of games for his country and for his state so he'll be a great asset for any club."

Mason was thought to have begun boxing training for his possible professional debut in January, and prospective Roosters teammates support his pugilism aspirations.

"I would rather him fight some random dude in the ring than be sparring us at training," Fitzgibbon said.

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