Crusaders linked with Mason swoop

James Gordon

Brian Noble’s Crusaders have been linked with an audacious swoop for NRL star Willie Mason.

Mick Robinson, an English-based Australian agent, has spent Christmas in Sydney trying to secure a deal for the Australian Test forward on behalf of the Super League club.

Mason has been granted leave by current club Sydney Roosters as he looks to engineer a move away from the club.

It’s two years since Mason joined the Roosters from previous club Canterbury Bulldogs on a $450,000 deal.

Robinson said: “He is a good bloke and the Crusaders are offering him a challenge.”

However, the Welsh side face competition from no fewer than four NRL clubs, including Cronulla, Manly and Melbourne, while Mason is still hoping to attract a lucrative offer from Japanese rugby union.

Mason would cost in excess of £200,000 in wages, but Noble knows that such a move would be a massive coup for the Wrexham-based club, and give them a lift ahead of their first game against Leeds on January 28.

Crusaders have also been linked with Kiwi Weller Hauraki, who has been released by Parramatta.

Noble is permitted 14 overseas players for next season, and has already signed Nick Youngquest and Frank Winterstein, with Matt Utai and Michael Witt expected to be confirmed shortly. Their squad already contains ex-NRL players such as Lincoln Withers, Ryan O’Hara and Adam Peek.