Willie Mason
Willie Mason

Bennett throws big Mason back in the game to boost Knights

NEWCASTLE Knights coach Wayne Bennett revived Willie Mason's career so the former Kangaroos representative would bring on-field expertise and some charisma to his rebuilding club.

The larger-than life prop displayed both as his team thrashed the Bulldogs 44-8 at Hunter Stadium yesterday.

Mason, who at 33 is close to being recalled into the Blues' Origin team, sparked a great try to Joseph Leilua after 63 minutes thanks to a brilliant offload, giving his side a 32-8 lead.

He also fired his teammates up, strongly voicing his disapproval at Bulldogs players over a Krisnan Inu leg-pull on Newcastle winger James McManus.

Mason later apologised and chuckled with Canterbury fullback Ben Barba for yelling at the wrong player, before happily signing autographs with the fans after the game was all but decided.

After only leading 12-8 at half-time, the Knights went on a second-half rampage, scoring five tries.

Kevin Naiqama, called up for injured winger Akuila Uate, scored a double.

The 24-year-old got his first due to a flat Jarrod Mullen kick, before Mullen's chip and chase, and Darius Boyd's brilliant no-look pass, saw the Fijian score his second near full-time.