As the Willie Mason saga shows no signs of going away early; St George Illawarra are the latest NRL team to throw their hat in the ring to snare the Bulldogs forward for next year.
The Dragons have just lost Corey Payne to the Wests Tigers in the past few days; the promising forward certainly a good get for the Tigers – who have struggled for forward size and power since winning the NRL Premiership in 2005.
Back at the Bulldogs; they have also set adrift local halfback Brent Sherwin so he can take up a contract with Castleford in the UK Super League. Shifty has struggled to find his best form since 2004 and the pressure of his long contract with the Bulldogs seemed to weigh him and his employer down at times. It certainly seems the Bulldogs have well and truly moved into a rebuilding stage; however they are one club that just seems to keep producing no-name stars year after year.
After they moved Sherwin on, speculation was rife that the Bulldogs were readying themselves for a straight swap of Willie Mason to Cronulla for halfback Brett Kimmorley. Certainly an interesting trade, and one I think would benefit both clubs. Willie would give Cronulla the size, force and experience up front and Kimmorley would give the Bulldogs the rudder they so desperately need to drive the team around.
As the Dragons make a tilt at Willie Mason, they could also genuinely be a contender for his signature. The Dragons HQ isn’t too far away for Mason to travel and the Dragons may have some room to move under the salary cap after shedding some stars in the past few years.
As the Dragons and Sharks circle for Mason, and of course the money from the UK Super League is certainly a factor in this deal – don’t discount the Roosters in this race. The power and dealings of Sydney boss Nick Politis should not be underestimated. Politis knows how to get a deal done and would certainly be using any leverage or angles he might have to lure the powerhouse Mason to Bondi.