19 Apr 2012

Mason handed NRL lifeline

5:47 am on 19 April 2012

Wayne Bennett's desperation to turn Newcastle into a National Rugby League force has resulted in the Knights becoming the fourth club in less than two years to offer controversial forward Willie Mason a lifeline.

Mason will begin life as a Knight when he trains with his new teammates today, and could start his bid to get back in the top grade this weekend with Newcastle's NSW Cup outfit.

Bennett has failed to replicate the immediate success he had with St George Illawarra in 2009 at Newcastle this year.

Central to that has been a lack of muscle up front, with Bennett pinning his hopes on 32-year-old Mason - who hasn't played in the NRL since 2010 - to help turn the Knights' fortunes around.

His signing with the Knights ends months of speculation over Mason's future, after he was heavily linked to the injury-ravaged Wests Tigers last month.