Mason back in Origin frame - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mason back in Origin frame

By Brent Read 06/07/2003 08:12:47 PM Comments (0)

Barnstorming Bulldogs second rower Willie Mason pitched himself into a NSW back row bunfight, less than 24 hours before selectors sit down to plug holes in the Blues side for the third State of Origin game.

Mason was at his irresistible best at Telstra Stadium as the 'Dogs beat Newcastle 48-14, coming off the interchange bench to leave his mark on the Newcastle forward pack, including another of the Blues' back row hopefuls Daniel Abraham.

NSW selector Geoff Gerrard admitted Mason's name was likely to receive some air time at their selection meeting Monday morning, with the Blues searching for replacements for Ben Kennedy (suspension) and Craig Fitzgibbon (knee) for Origin III at Suncorp Stadium on July 16.

South Sydney captain Bryan Fletcher and Manly captain Steve Menzies loom as the frontrunners for the two available spots, although Fletcher sat out the Rabbitohs' loss to the Sydney Roosters with a hamstring injury and Menzies spent most of the Sea Eagles' game against Parramatta in the centres.

"Obviously with Kennedy and Fitzgibbon out we have to find two automatic replacements," Gerrard said.

"His (Mason) form has been down a bit but he had a good game today."

Gerrard was at Parramatta Stadium for the Eels-Sea Eagles game and was impressed with the display of Nathan Hindmarsh who, alongside North Queensland's Glenn Morrison, shapes as a prospective NSW back rower.

Blues coach Phil Gould revealed today Morrison had been a shadow player for the opening two games and had done his cause no harm with another outstanding display in the Cowboys' win over the New Zealand Warriors.

"He's very, very close to selection," Gould said on Channel Nine.

"There's a number of candidates there. He certainly didn't hurt himself with his performance last night."

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