Willie Mason is tipped to bid au revoir to the NRL after receiving a lucrative offer to finish his career at Super League side Catalans.
Mason has been one of rugby league’s most colourful characters since bursting onto the scene in 2000 and still believes, at the age of 35, he has more to offer. The former NSW and Australian forward has achieved every goal imaginable during his time with the Bulldogs, Roosters, Cowboys, Knights and Sea Eagles, including a Canterbury premiership triumph in which he was awarded the Clive Churchill Medal. Several NRL clubs have approached him about a one-year deal but he is tipped to join a star-studded Dragons squad already containing Todd Carney, Glenn Stewart, Willie Tonga, Krisnan Inu, Dave Taylor and Justin Horo.
Mason was coy about his future, but has shelved any thoughts of retirement after discussing his options with long-time mentor Wayne Bennett. “I’m 35 but my body is in good nick, I don’t miss any sessions,” Mason told Fairfax Media. “If I didn’t get suspended I would have played every game this year. I was playing more minutes, doing more work and if you look at the stats, I’m more productive than my last three years. Me and Wayne have had a good talk just about next year and the future of what I want to do. So I’m thinking ‘why retire?’ Because of my age? It doesn’t mean anything really.
Mason is officially clubless but was made to sweat it out during a session with sprint coach Roger Fabri on Wednesday. Fabri has been keeping Mason and other sporting stars in shape over summer as his Speed and Agility Academy at Centennial Park prepares to host American guru Tevin Allen, considered one of the world’s foremost footwork specialists, during a series of clinics open to the public from December 7-12.
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Originally Published – Sydney Morning Herald
November 18, 2015