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Manly’s squabbles did not diminish Willie Mason’s desire to join club

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Hamster Huey, Oct 31, 2014.

  1. Hamster Huey

    Hamster Huey Space Invader Premium Member

    +1,178 /9
    Margie McDonald; The Australian Sports Reporter, Sydney.


    THE fireworks within the Manly Sea Eagles this year never deterred Willie Mason from wanting to sign with the club.

    Boardroom squabbles, Glenn Stewart’s departure, infighting among the players — but still the club made the finals for a tenth year in a row.

    “They had big dramas last season and they finished equal first,” Mason said yesterday. “That says something right there — so much for a bad year.”

    Manly will be Mason’s fifth NRL club but the only one he was truly interested in after Newcastle told him he didn’t fit into their 2015 plans following the departure of coach Wayne Bennett.

    “There were a few clubs but I told my manager if I could get Manly, I’d go there straight away because of the culture at the club — they are always there or thereabouts at the end of the year, no matter what,” he said.

    “They’ve played in four grand finals in the past few years, won two premierships.

    “They are a successful and consistent club. They expect to win all the time.”

    Mason, who turns 35 in April, knows there will be pressure on him. It’s something he relishes, and at 196cm and 118kg and with 24 Tests and 13 Origins to his name, he can produce.

    “Every team I play for, there’s always a bit of pressure on me.

    “It’s nothing I’m not used to and I’m looking forward to it,” Mason said.

    “Choc (Watmough) and Glenn have been central planks of Manly for over 10 years now. The club has always had a good, keen forward pack. They’ve got some good kids coming through and just needed a couple of front-rowers and some older heads. So they got me.”

    Although he knows little of coach Geoff Toovey, he has a solid friendship with halfback Kieran Foran, has played with Brett Stewart and Jamie Lyon for NSW and Australia and is a former teammate of Tom Symonds at the Sydney Roosters.

    He’s looking forward to getting to know Daly Cherry-Evans. “(He and Foran) are the best halves in the comp. They are huge for Manly because they play at the highest level,” Mason said of the Kangaroos and Kiwis halves.

    “I’m pretty good mates with Kieran, and when he and Daly play well, the team plays well. They have guys like (Steve) Matai, Jamie Lyon, Peta Hiku and Snake (Stewart) outside of them. It is a superstar backline. I want to play with my usual passion and pride. That’s the approach I took to Newcastle and that’s what I want to take to Manly.”

    Knights fans didn’t want Mason to go but understood it wasn’t his choice: “They realise I wanted to stay there.”

    There is one connection with Newcastle he will not sever — his friendship with former teammate Alex McKinnon, who continues his rehabilitation from a broken neck.
    • Like Like x 2
    • The Wheel

      The Wheel Well-Known Member

      +2,757 /88
      I am liking Willie more already
    • Budgewoi Eagle

      Budgewoi Eagle In for the long haul. Premium Member 2016 Tipping Competitor 2017 Tipping Competitor

      +5,819 /82
      I really began liking him this year when I saw him on NRL 360. He has quite the football brain. Actually, even more than that, quite the brain in general.
      And then I loved him when he was miked up on Sterlo. All before he signed for the club.
      I'm really looking forward to having him in the Maroon and White and five years ago I never could have imagined saying that.
      • Like Like x 1
      • Crusher_Cleal

        Crusher_Cleal Well-Known Member

        +762 /21
        Hopefully he generates some good and positive media attention for us this season. God knows we need it.
      • SeaEagle21

        SeaEagle21 Well-Known Member Premium Member

        +1,453 /22
        Lots of positives, hopefully he gets the forwards fired up and gives the backs some room to show their magic. Might help with the self confidence of the team and get that harmony in the team back. Last season there were high fives but not as much enthusiasm behind them as in the past
      • niccipops

        niccipops un echidna spillo mia bevanda Premium Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

        +6,355 /56
        I've always liked Willie.;)

        Now don't be filthy minded. I could be talking about a number of things/persons/whales that needed to be freed. :D
        • Like Like x 1
        • KOMORI

          KOMORI Born and bred an Eagle

          +3,716 /62
          Willie Mason has always struck me as a competitor... The sort of guy who will try his guts out on a weekly basis: he's not playin for a paycheck he's playing for the victories.

          At 35 he's at the twilight of his career and what better a way to cap that off, than with a premiership!! Realistically this is his last chance... I can't remember the last time he played in a team that's a genuine contender yet he's continued to put in 100% effort week in week out.

          I believe he'll do bloody well at Manly. Hopefully he'll bring that little bit of "fun" that was missing late last year.. The boys seemed a little disinterested to me (understandable given the off field rubbish) but I don't think you'll see that attitude from Mason.

          Overall he won't fill the gap left with the exit of Choc and Gifty: but in my opinion that's not what he's been hired to do. His job is to bolster our front row stocks, an area in which we've recently been lacking.

          Anyhow... I reckon he's a good buy on a one season deal, and that he'll fit in well bringing with him some much needed experience:)
          • Like Like x 1
          • tookey

            tookey Well-Known Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

            +5,796 /186
            Good mates with Foran. Sign them both on long term deals.
            • Like Like x 1
            • anthonyb1965

              anthonyb1965 GO Manly Premium Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

              +892 /25
              Great article, looking forward to 2015!!!
            • The Who

              The Who Well-Known Member Premium Member

              +7,250 /173
              What a positive article. Little wonder it is in The Australian and not the Telecrap.
            • SeaEagleRock8

              SeaEagleRock8 Sea Eagle Lach Staff Member Premium Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

              +10,548 /214
              Mason can't be long term, but that's OK, just sign a new mate of Foran's each season to keep him happy.
              We can ask him who his best mates are and then sign the cheapest one.
              • Like Like x 1
              • Clint

                Clint . Premium Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

                +2,173 /34
                Ok, so now that we have Big Willie what banners can we expect next year?

                WE HAVE A BIG WILLIE.
                HAVE YOU?

                I'm sure the possibilities are endless
              • Hamster Huey

                Hamster Huey Space Invader Premium Member

                +1,178 /9
                You've seen our Beaver; now check out our Willie!!!
                • Like Like x 6
                • Ramrod

                  Ramrod Well-Known Member

                  +433 /2
                  I feel like another Grand Final approaching for Manly again.
                  I'm glad there was a change in ownership and so far it's looking great for Manly!
                  Seems like the other party was toxic to our club.
                • robbiea

                  robbiea Well-Known Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

                  +2,570 /79
                  Big Willie fills Choc's hole.....
                  • Like Like x 12
                  • Central Coast Eagle

                    Central Coast Eagle Active Member

                    +108 /2
                    How did none of the newspapers run with this headline?
                    • Like Like x 2
                    • Clint

                      Clint . Premium Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

                      +2,173 /34
                      Lol - well done HH and robbiea. Gold!
                    • The Wheel

                      The Wheel Well-Known Member

                      +2,757 /88
                      As long as we don't sign his best mate Pearce
                    • Kevinward777

                      Kevinward777 Well-Known Member

                      +3,738 /81
                      Going from last year we aren't replacing Glen because he essentially didn't play for us. That means we signed Mason, Vave, Matteo and Tetevano and lost Choc and King. Which means we're miles in front if those boys perform.
                    • PONTIAN SEA EAGLE

                      PONTIAN SEA EAGLE Well-Known Member

                      +1,521 /114
                      Has one of the best offloads,something we haven't had in our forwards in a while.

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