How’s this for a farce in international rugby league? You are born in New Zealand, and raised there, before moving to Australia and playing most of your footy career in the country, only to go to Tonga and pledge your allegiance there.

This is exactly what has happened in the case of former Bulldog, Rooster and Cowboy, Willie Mason.

The process was by no means easy however as in order to earn a free-quota spot at Hull, Mason was required to wine and dine with Tongan’s prime-minister, as they discussed whether or not he would be able to get a Tongan passport.

“I had to meet the prime minister,” Mason said. “I think it was a big formality, but that is what I had to do to fast track it and make sure it went through.

“We had a few beers and chatted. He was a good bloke and it was pretty fun actually.”

Despite being due in England with Hull over 6 weeks ago, Mason had difficulties in acquiring the Tongan passport required for the ESL.

Despite the shambles that the international spheres might be in, Mason does have merit to play for Tonga, as his mother was born in Tonga, and he’s visited relatives in the country since he was 6.

“I have had some trouble getting [the passport] so I had to go over,” Mason said.

“I need the passport to be registered in the Super League with an off-quota spot. I can’t go over until I get it and I’m expecting to go over on January 7.”

In perhaps a coincidence, or by pure chance, former NRL players Karmichael Hunt and Israel Folau were also in Tonga, doing promotional work for the AFL.

“It was pretty strange bumping into them,” Mason said. “But we made the most of it.”

By ricky

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