Willie Mason welcomed home to Newcastle

2 Have your say

    Willie Mason has heard more boos than cheers throughout his drama-filled career, but importantly it was a rousing reception he received in Newcastle for his NRL return.

    “It was a bit different,” Mason said.

    “I’m a Newcastle boy at heart. I’m from Newcastle, and usually when I do play up here I get booed a lot which is in most cases anyway, at any ground.”

    The game’s human headline is still larger than life, still loves a laugh, but most importantly after a year away from the NRL – Mason says his love for the game and drive to succeed is alive again.

    Mason said he couldn’t have written a better script as the Knights recorded a 34-14 win over Penrith.

    He couldn’t escape the deluge of media reports and personal text messages from friends building up to his comeback, and he admitted to experiencing some unusual emotions before kick-off at Hunter Stadium on Monday night.

    After 20 minutes of action, yielding six runs, 47 metres, eight tackles, a tackle break and an offload, Mason returned to the bench to ice a sore hamstring.

    “That first hit-up, I think I just came out of the blocks too hard, I was too keen, should have knocked it back a gear,” he said.

    But what he lacked in game time, Mason made up for after fulltime as he continued to reconnect with where it all began.

    The Newcastle junior was the last to leave the sheds, signing autographs for kids from his former club Toronto Macquarie.

    “Usually I try to block it out (the crowd), but it was a bit hard and it was a bit emotional,” he said.

    “Always as a kid I thought I was going to be a Knight.

    “I never really wanted to leave and it was a bit surreal running out with the Knights colours on. I know how proud Newcastle boys are because I am a Newcastle boy.”

    And after all the drama Mason has been through since his debut way back in 2000, he might have finally found the coach who knows how to handle him. Post-match, Wayne Bennett summed things up nicely when asked about Mason’s performance.

    “Oh Willie will tell me his thoughts (on how he went),” said Bennett.

    © AAP 2018

    If you could choose from any and every NRL player in the competition, who would you pick in your rugby league dream team? Let us know with our team picker right here, and be sure to share it with all your league-loving mates.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (2)

    • May 1st 2012 @ 12:53pm
      oikee said | May 1st 2012 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

      Welcome Home, Big Willie. Where ya been, once you leave the NRL nobody cares mate.
      So welcome home son, we missed you i think,.

    • Roar Guru

      May 2nd 2012 @ 8:40pm
      code 13 said | May 2nd 2012 @ 8:40pm | ! Report

      I took the kids to the game on Monday night. The crowd booed when his name was read out on the team list but cheered when he was interchanged on.

      It’s good to have characters in the game and hopefully he can make something of himself.

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    , , ,