He has never been known as the sharpest knife in the draw. This week Manly forward Willie Mason showed just how stupid he is.
In his first game back following a two-week suspension for a shoulder charge Mason sunk his shoulder into the Rooster’s prop Dylan Napa in the very first hit-up of the game.
Napa is no shrinking violet. The 109 kg steamroller was met by three Manly defenders, one of whom was Mason.
Mason didn’t even bother to disguise his shoulder charge.
So with only seven seconds of the game gone the Roosters had their first penalty and Mason was once again on report.
Mason has been an outspoken critic of the new shoulder charge rule.
“I’m embarrassed to be a rugby league player at the moment,” he said after the first two week suspension, “with all the rule changes and everything like that.
“It’s a sad day for rugby league really if you have a look at it.
“I’ve seen bigger hits on the weekend in netball.”
And who can argue?
Rugby league is meant to be a hard-man’s game; getting rid of the shoulder charge from league is like outlawing the body check in ice hockey or the blindside hit in NFL.
I suppose we should be thankful the NRL management don’t run Formula One – everyone would have to drive at the speed limit.
Shoulder charge rule: “Is where a defender, without attempting to tackle, grab or hold the ball-carrier (or any opposing player) using the arms or hands, makes direct physical contact using the shoulder or the upper arm (tucked into the side).
“It will be considered misconduct, if any player affects a tackle in the manner as defined.”