Mason to face Penrith

Willie Mason will make his first NRL appearance in over a year after being named in the Newcastle squad to take on Penrith.

Mason, 32, has been named on the bench by coach Wayne Bennett for the clash at Hunter Sports Stadium on Monday night.

He made his playing return to rugby league last weekend for the Knights’ NSW Cup team.

The news marks an amazing turnaround for Mason, who has been without any club since leaving French rugby union side Toulon in January.

Before that he enjoyed a brief stint with Hull KR but was de-registered from Super League after issues with his visa.

Meanwhile for the Knights, skipper Kurt Gidley returns from a knee injury to replace rookie halfback Tyrone Roberts.

Wes Naiqama, who played his first game last weekend in the NSW Cup since tearing cartilage in his knee in Round 3, replaces Junior Sa’u in the centres.

Darius Boyd, James McManus, Akuila Uate, Jarrod Mullen, Chris Houston and Alex McKinnon all return from representative duties.

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