WILLIE Mason has declared Manly’s maligned forward pack won’t let Parramatta’s “beasts” bully them when they collide at Pirtek Stadium on Friday night.
Sea Eagles recruit Mason predicted former Silvertail Anthony Watmough would have the Eels forwards fired up for an epic grudge match.
But the 34-year-old denied the Eels would hold any intimidation factor over the visiting Sea Eagle
“I won’t be beaten by anyone - no-one puts one over me,” Mason said.
“Choc (Watmough) won’t want to lose to his old club, that’s for sure.
“He will get their massive pack up for this game.
“We definitely know what we are in for on Friday night. Choc would have looked at the draw straight away to find out when he played Manly.
“Parramatta have such a big and physical pack. They are beasts. Choc will have them ready.
Mason likened Watmough’s clash with former club Manly to his return bouts against Canterbury, where he spent eight years of his career.
“He will love it - this match will be a career highlight even though he has won grand finals,” Mason said.
“Choc is a leader, not just for Parramatta but also NSW and Australia. You never want to lose to the team you just left.
“It reminds me of when I left the Bulldogs.”
With hulking forwards like Darcy Lussick (192cm, 114kg), Tim Mannah (184cm, 110kg), Tepai Moeroa (194cm, 111kg), Junior Paulo (188cm, 118kg) and Manu Ma’u (104cm, 103kg), Parramatta might fancy their chances of bulldozing the Manly pack, but Mason thinks it’s a no-win situation.
“Not too many teams will try and test our middle,” Mason said. “I pride myself on being the intimidating body in the middle. I have a lot of pride - I won’t be beaten by anyo
“I have that drive. That is probably why I am still playing. No-one puts one over me.
“When the day comes when I get bullied, I’ll retire.
“I am pumped. I couldn’t have come to a better club. Manly has such high standards. It’s not about the top eight here, it’s top four and grand finals.
“They have a swagger about them but it isn’t cockiness. They have just had a success.”
Friday night’s match will be fierce and personal.
Parramatta signed Manly legend Watmough and the Eels are now ready to lure Kieran Foran from Brookvale. Former Sea Eagles star Will Hopoate is also an Eel.
But everyone will be watching how Watmough plays.
“Choc and I are good mates. He is a great player and will be remembered as a Manly great,” Mason said.
“We go hard on the field but will have a beer after the match.”
Last week, Watmough ruffled the Manly camp but expressing his “hate” for the club.
“There’s people in this team who hate Manly even more than I do,” Watmough said. “I never thought I’d leave Manly but it’s probably been the best move I’ve made in my life besides marrying my wife and having a couple of kids.
“It’s good to wake up every day and want to go to training. I’m not sitting in my car, not wanting to get out. Not wanting to train.”
Big Willie's got me excited. Can't wait for Friday's game.