Hull KR have pulled off the signing of controversial Australian forward Willie Mason.
The 30-year-old international prop or second rower has signed a two-year contract, subject to receiving visa and medical clearance, to join up with Rovers for the start of the 2011 Super League season.
Rovers beat several clubs to the signature of the colourful Mason, who is perhaps best remembered in the United Kingdom for the punch that knocked out Great Britain forward Stuart Fielden in the 2006 Tri-Nations Series in Sydney.
The signing of the 194cm, 115kg forward will be seen as one of the most high profile in Super League history, ranking alongside that of Stacey Jones (Catalans Dragons) and Trent Barrett (Wigan).
Rovers newly-appointed chief executive Mike Smith, who completed the deal this morning with Mason’s agent Greg Keenan, said: “This is arguably the biggest signing in the club’s illustrious history and one of the most high profile overseas signings these shores have ever seen.
“Willie’s playing record speaks for itself and he has a hunger to come to Super League and compete for silverware.
“We’re delighted that he will be doing that in the red and white of Hull KR.
“Signing a player of Willie’s calibre not only highlights just how far we have come as a club in our first four years in Super League, but also demonstrates our ambition moving forward to become the very best.”
Mason spent the first seven years of his career with Canterbury Bulldogs before moving on to Sydney Roosters and, more recently, North Queensland Cowboys.
Born in New Zealand, Mason played his first international rugby league for Tonga, where his mother was born, in the 2000 World Cup before switching his allegiance to Australia, for whom he won the first of 24 caps in the 60-12 rout of Britain in Sydney in 2002.
Mason, who has made 13 State of Origin appearances for New South Wales, was courted by Crusaders and Catalans Dragons a year ago and Huddersfield were among the clubs to have recently shown an interest.