And so we reach the latest chapter in a saga that has gone on for, what feels like, as long as Days of Our Lives.
Willie Mason is back. Well, almost. According to newspaper reports. And the rumour mill, which has the 2004 Clive Churchill medallist heading to Newcastle for an encore to a controversial career.
All this after the Wests Tigers aborted an attempt to bring a player widely regarded as disruptive, lazy and washed-up to the club to alleviate the pressure of an injury crisis to the pack. The Tigers needed hard heads and hard bodies, but for some reason Tim Sheens went looking at Mason.
The deal was done until the board got cold feet after a public backlash, rightly determining that the loss of membership and the internal disruption was not worth the little output expected from the 32-year-old.
Sanity, of course, prevailed, even if some members of the Tigers staff were left kicking the dirt.
That is why it is hard to believe that Newcastle would even entertain the idea of approaching Mason.
Take out the fact he has left Canterbury, the Sydney Roosters, North Queensland and Hull KR on bad terms. Take away from the fact he is widely regarded as a poor trainer and an immature personality who has proven an immense distraction everywhere he has been. Take away from the fact he is a poor influence on younger teammates. Forget his long history of selfishness and his lack of respect for the sanctity of a contract. Never mind his flagrant disregard for authority in all its forms.
Just keep it to on the paddock.
He is 32 and would walk back in as the 18th oldest player in the NRL and one of only eight props/backrowers that age or older. He has not played in the NRL since playing for the 5-19 wooden spoon-winning Cowboys in 2010. Since then he managed just six games with Hull KR before walking out on the team to go and whore himself out to rugby union in France.
Prior to his run with the Cowboys, he played 20 games with the wooden spoon winning Roosters. Mason's teams went 8-35 when Mason played in his last two seasons.
Finding what he has to offer is a hard task. The once devastating ball-runner was nothing but an ambler when last seen on an NRL paddock. He has never been the most stout defender but by the end he was often making less than 10 tackles a game. He was, at the end, a non-winning lump, really. And that was two years back.
Newcastle are right in the mix for the title this year. They may be 3-4 but they are warming to better and soon enter a good part of the draw.
Wayne Bennett is arguably the greatest coach the game has ever known. But even he can't pull off The Resurrection of William Mason.
Flirting with Mason is a dangerous business for the Knights. Signing him would be suicidal.
This story first appeared on Back Page Lead
Tags: Rugby League