In Super League when we think of Willie Mason, two things spring to mind.
The fight he had with the likes of Jamie Peacock when Great Britain last beat the Australians in 2006 and his ill-fated tenure at Hull KR in 2011 when, after a long draw out transfer saga, he only played six games for the Robins before he moved on to a brief stint in rugby union. He did return to Super League in 2016 when he joined Catalans Dragons but even his time in France was short.
But down under, he’s remembered fondly as one of the great characters and most brutal forwards in the modern NRL. A Grand Final winner in 2004 and an Australian international with 24 appearances for his country under his belt, he’s a legend to many.
He played for Sydney Roosters, North Queensland Cowboys, Newcastle Knights and Manly Sea Eagles but his best rugby came at Canterbury from 2000-07 when he made nearly 150 appearances for the Bulldogs.
In recent years, Canterbury have been a long way off the standards Mason and his teammates as they claimed the club’s last Premiership in 2004. So, the Bulldogs are looking to turn things around in 2022 and have seemingly turned to Mason to help rebuild the club after a difficult 2021 campaign.
The former Hull KR man was pictured in Canterbury gear as pre-season training got into gear today having seemingly taken on an assistant coach position with the Bulldogs ahead of the new season even if there’s been no official confirmation from the club.
— Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (@NRL_Bulldogs) November 15, 2021
Who is this? pic.twitter.com/0ayRALkxF6
— Phil Gould (@PhilGould15) November 15, 2021
It remains to be seen whether or not he can spark the change Canterbury need after a few years in the wilderness and the wooden spoon last year.