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Willie Mason

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by swoop, Feb 19, 2015.

  1. swoop

    swoop Well-Known Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

    +1,543 /26
    When he first signed I had my reservations about him but I've changed my mind. I've seen him interviewed and he looks to be a positive influence around the club.

    NRL 2015 season: Larger-than-life Willie Mason keen to get stuck in for new club and mates
    FEBRUARY 19, 2015

    WILLIE Mason stood on the sideline at a Narrabeen training oval after training on Wednesday and somehow slotted a field goal from 30m out.

    He raised his arms in the air as his Manly teammates cheered, then declared: “Pressure. I love it.’’

    Big Willie has clearly settled into life on the northern beaches, and is enjoying the company of his Sea Eagles’ teammates.

    He went as far to say Manly is “one of the most enjoyable clubs I’ve been at’

    Making the finals with them this year “was a given’’.

    And it’s the camaraderie, not cash, that him going.

    “If I was doing this for money, I would have stayed in the south of France (playing rugby),’’ Mason says.

    Like him or loathe him, Mason certainly isn’t short of an opinion.

    For starters, you ask him to explain exactly what happened at the Auckland Nines, which prompted Manly and the NRL integrity unit to look into possible “anti-social behaviour’’.

    More than two weeks on, the matter is still being dealt with.

    He maintains his brother Les “beat the **** out of me’’ out the front of Eden Park, as an audience of about 20 looked on.

    “I was there with Duco Events, I wasn’t affiliated with Manly, and I was very insulted when they called it ‘anti-social’. I thought I was very sociable over there. I had a good time talking to the corporates, and everything like that,’’ Mason said.

    “I got my brother some tickets, and we were outside just being brothers, we had a few beers, and he put a cheap shot on me that sent me flying back. I tried to get him back, and that was it.

    “The cops come, I think they were worried about me because he was dusting me up so much. They said, ‘Willie, are you alright?’, and I said, ‘I’m alright, he’s my brother, don’t worry about it’.

    “They laughed it off, grabbed a cab and got us in a cab.’’

    Told about suggestions he wanted to fight bouncers out the front of a nightclub, Mason said he didn’t even go to a club.

    He told Manly boss Joe Kelly and the board the same story.

    He’s not worried about it going any further.

    He’s only focused on getting stuck in for his new club.

    The winning culture at Manly, he says, brings back memories of him winning a premiership at the Bulldogs more than a decade ago.

    “The sort of swagger the Manly boys have, you don’t talk about, ‘gee, I hope we can make the top eight’. That’s pretty much a given around here,’’ Mason said.

    “Ten years of making the top four nearly every year, grand finals and all that, the standards are that, they’re high, and everyone lives up to it. If you don’t, you won’t be in the 17.’’

    Mason doesn’t know how much longer he’ll keep playing.

    “The fire is still burning and I’m still proving everyone wrong, and that’s a big motivation for me,’’ Mason said.

    “I’ve got a lot of pride, I don’t want to get dusted every week, and if that did happen, I would retire.’’

    Pressure. Big Willie loves it.

    • Like Like x 1
    • Fluffy

      Fluffy Well-Known Member

      +5,634 /205
      Big Willie showing Choc how it is done, by all means talk up your new club but show some respect to your previous ones.
    • BOZO

      BOZO Well-Known Member 2017 Tipping Competitor 2018 Tipping Competitor

      +7,409 /390
      Mason: It couldn't have worked out better
      Larger-than-life Manly recruit Willie Mason has declared things couldn't possibly have worked out better than a deal with Manly after being deemed surplus to requirements at Newcastle.

      In a jovial media session at the club's Narrabeen training base, the 34-year-old said he had quickly adapted to the renowned culture of the club, adding the "swagger" of the Manly players reminded him of his successful days at the Bulldogs in the early 2000s.

      "It couldn't have worked out any better. If I could have picked any team I wanted to go to I would have picked Manly over any team in the NRL – I'm very proud to play for this club," Mason said.

      The pair's halves are arguably the best in the game and there are a host of senior players such as captain Jamie Lyon, fullback Brett Stewart and newly-re-signed centre Steve Matai who are there to share the leadership burden, he added.

      "They're all winners; it's a privilege to play for Manly," he said.

      "It just reminds me of the Bulldogs when we were really successful, the sort of swagger the Manly boys have got – you don't talk about 'oh gee I hope we make the top eight', that's pretty much a given around here.

      "Ten years of making the top four pretty much every year, grand finals and all that kind of stuff, I think the standard is that. The standards are high, and everybody lives up to it and if you don't live up to it you're not going to be in the 17."

      Mason said it was one of the most enjoyable clubs he'd been at, especially coming off a stressful year at Newcastle where a number of dramas – not least the terrible injury to Alex McKinnon – had cast a pall over the year. Combined with the elevated expectations that followed the appointment of supercoach Wayne Bennet, which were not met during Bennett's tenure, it all made for a high-pressure situation, he said.

      "There was a lot of pressure on the young kids and a lot of pressure on Wayne. I've got so much respect for that guy, he's a man's man and we were in situations where even he didn't know how to handle it so how do you expect a bunch of young men know how to handle it, let alone kids like Sione Mata'utia, Gags [Dane Gagai] and BJ [Joey Leilua] and all these sorts of kids.

      "Coming here with guys like Killer [Lyon] and Snake [Stewart] and Steve Matai and all these senior players that I've known for years and played against and played with, it's just really fun being at training, everyone's got high energy.

      "They expect you when you hit the field out there to be 100 per cent, if you're not right to train you're in rehab. So you need to be hitting the deck at 100 per cent.

      "They're pretty good with the senior players – they go, 'have a swim, get your body right and make sure your head's right to train' – and they're like that during the year because every time you play Manly they seem to be coming out of a cannon at 100 miles an hour. Next thing it's 20-nil because they start very hard and fast."

      Mason said he had recently moved to Collaroy, just north of Manly, and was loving the chilled-out northern beaches life as much as the new club.

      "I'm really enjoying it and now I just can't wait for the football season to start because we've put so much hard work in, we just want to get it going."

      He is yet to think about his career plans beyond his current one-year deal at Manly.

      "I've got to get through this year first!" he laughed.

      "Regardless of age and all this kinda stuff, if I keep competing with these young guys and I still love training. I'm at a stage now where if I want to retire, I can retire. I don't play for money, I play for the camaraderie with the guys, the training and just competing every week and winning.

      "I just love competing, regardless of age, if I can keep competing at a high level so be it.

      "There's always young kids trying to knock you off, there's always old blokes trying to get you; I've got a lot of pride and I don't want to get dusted every week and if that was happening I would retire."

      For his part, Manly coach Geoff Toovey said he was expecting Mason to provide even more in 2015 than he did for Newcastle in 2014.

      "I thought he had one of his better years last year with Newcastle," Toovey said.

      "I thought he played some really good football and we're expecting that from him here at Manly as well, and we're expecting some more out of him so I think he's in for a big year."

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