Willie Mason lands huge starring role
SPRUIKING has never been a problem for Willie Mason.But the usually softly spoken Wayne Bennett thought he'd talk up the reborn Newcastle forward anyway in Brisbane yesterday.
And NSW mentor Laurie Daley is listening.
Mason, 32,received a shock call-up in the 20-strong NRL All Stars squad for the February 9 season opener at Suncorp Stadiumafter coach Bennett included him as a "coach's selection".
Mason might also fall into the "coach's favourite" category judging by Bennett who could not hide his admiration for his larger-than-life Knights charge.
"I picked him on his football ability but he will help in the talking it up stakes," Bennett laughed.
Indigenous All Stars coach Daley, who will hold the NSW State of Origin reins for the first time this year, revealed Mason was already in the mix for a Blues jersey.
The two squads were named after more than 40,000 fans voted on-line.
A representative from each of the 16 clubs must feature in the NRL All Stars but fans could pick from all of the competition's indigenous talent for Daley's team.
Wests Tigers star Benji Marshall will again captain the NRL All Stars, which features Billy Slater at fullback and Parramatta livewire Jarryd Hayne on the bench.
The Indigenous side is led by Queensland playmaker Johnathan Thurston and features an electric back- line including Ben Barba, Justin Hodges, Greg Inglis and Blake Ferguson.
NEW CAIRNS.COM.AU COMMENT POLICY
We welcome your comments on this story. Comments are submitted for possible publication on the condition that they may be edited. Comments submitted without a full name and suburb/location will not be considered for publication. Please read our full comment policy and publication guidelines.