2008 Rugby League World Cup
The 2008 Rugby League World Cup was the thirteenth staging of the Rugby League World Cup since its inauguration in 1954, the first since the 2000 tournament. The tournament was held in Australia from 26 October, culminating in the final between Australia and New Zealand on 22 November. 2008 was the fourth time that the World Cup was held in Australia, the first being in 1957. The tournament was won by New Zealand, who defeated Australia 34–20 in the final in one of the greatest upsets in the history of the sport; the tournament featured the best ten teams around the globe. A total of eighteen matches; the tournament ended a year of celebrations commemorating the centenary of the game in the southern hemisphere and was part of the Festival of World Cups. The thirteenth Cup was scheduled to be held in Australia in 2004, however the lack of international success by Great Britain and New Zealand after the 2000 World Cup and the rise of the Tri-Nations tournament meant that it was delayed for a further four years.
The Rugby League International Federation announced this tournament on 6 May 2006, with further details on scheduling and dates following on 19 April 2007. The first match took place in Townsville between England and Papua New Guinea, although the official opening ceremony of the competition occurred before the Australia and New Zealand match the following day in Sydney; the final took place at Lang Park in Brisbane. The tournament proved a commercial success, delivering a profit of A$5 million and re-establishing the credibility of the competition; the draw, after being confirmed by the RLIF on 19 April 2007, involved three groups. The first group was made up of four teams. Whilst the other two groups involved three teams each; the semi finals were made up of the first three teams in the first group and the winner of a playoff between the winners of the second and third groups. The draw was put into doubt after the Papua New Guinea team claimed that it was unfair to them and threatened to boycott the tournament should it not be changed.
Marcus Bai, former Papua New Guinean winger and captain, said: They have to change it and if they don't, we won't come. We will ring up the other island nations and teams elsewhere who don't qualify and we can have our own competition, they have shown no respect for our efforts to promote the game up there. For the tournament, this separate island competition did not eventuate. Papua New Guinea still remained upset with the draw, seeing it as a huge challenge but one which would have seen them be rewarded if they had won; the draw was finalised on 4 October 2007. Teams received 2 points for a win, 1-point for a draw; this meant that, unlike in the Australasian National Rugby League, there was no "golden point" rule enforced. In group stages, if two teams had the same number of points positions were determined on points difference, the number of points scored minus the number of points conceded. After group matches were completed, a match featuring the second placed teams in Group B and Group C took place with the winner receiving 7th place.
The third placed teams in Group B and Group C played off for 9th place. It was believed; the hosts, were given automatic entry into the World Cup, along with New Zealand, England and Papua New Guinea. The five remaining places in the World Cup were determined by qualification rounds. Two European rounds and Pacific and Repêchage rounds were scheduled. Tonga and Fiji became the first two nations to qualify after Tonga defeated Samoa 18–10 in Leeds on 22 October, forcing Samoa to enter the repêchage. In the European Group Two, Ireland drew 16–16 with Lebanon to ensure qualification, while Lebanon were forced to enter the repêchage; the final automatic place went to Scotland. Wales faced Lebanon in the repêchage semi-final, where they lost in a surprise 50–26 defeat, to knock them out of World Cup Qualifying. Lebanon faced Samoa, who beat USA 42–10 in the first semi-final, on 14 November for the final qualifying position; the game was won by Samoa, 38–16, so they booked the tenth and final place. Many qualification matches were broadcast live by Sky Sports in the United Kingdom and New Zealand, whilst BigPondTV broadcast matches online for other fans around the world.
Six referees from four countries controlled matches in the tournament. These four nations provided touch judges while England and Australia provided the video referees. In support of the Australian National Breast Cancer Foundation, the referees wore pastel pink shirts while officiating matches to raise awareness; the shirts, which carried the NBCF logo on the collar, were signed by the team captains at each World Cup game and were auctioned off with the proceeds going to the NBCF. Due to Rugby League World Cup rules prohibiting the use of commercial venue names, all venues were known by their non-commercial names, e.g. Suncorp Stadium was known as Lang Park during the tournament. Lang Park would host the World Cup Final. On Sunday night, 26 October, the Sydney Football Stadium hosted the Opening Ceremony of the World Cup, it started with Greg Inglis reciting a speech about "Playing Fair". Following Inglis' speech there was an Aboriginal Smoking ceremony to welcome all the athletes and participants.
This included a rather large sized Rainbow Serpent. The last part of the ceremony involved a performance of the Rugby League World Cup anthem "Hero" by Natalie Bassingthwaighte. A curtai
Sydney Football Stadium
The Sydney Football Stadium, commercially known as Allianz Stadium and Aussie Stadium, was a football stadium in Moore Park, Australia. Built in 1988 next to the Sydney Cricket Ground, the stadium was Sydney's premier rectangular field venue for rugby league, rugby union and soccer; the Kangaroos, the Wallabies and the Socceroos played at the stadium, while the Sydney Roosters, NSW Waratahs and Sydney FC were the ground's major tenants. The stadium held both National Rugby League semi finals and one preliminary final, held the annual pre-season Charity Shield football match between South Sydney and St George Illawarra for a number of years, it hosted all New South Wales Rugby League/Australian Rugby League rugby league grand finals, as well as the first grand final under the NRL banner, between 1988 and 1998. The NSW Government announced plans in November 2017 for the stadium to be rebuilt; the stadium closed with the last event being a Michael Buble concert. Demolition begun in early 2019, continuing after several legal challenges and being a major topic during the 2019 New South Wales state election.
Prior to its construction, major events were held at the Sydney Cricket Ground, as it was the largest stadium in Sydney. But the SCG, being an oval field, was not considered ideal for sports requiring a rectangular field such as soccer, rugby league and rugby union, although it had been used many times for such events. Sydney Football Stadium was built upon the former Sydney Sports Ground in Moore Park, the former SCG No 2 adjacent to the existing SCG. Both were owned by the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust, it opened by Premier Barrie Unsworth on 24 January 1988. The first sporting event was a rugby league match between the Eastern Suburbs Roosters and St George Dragons on 4 March 1988, its seating capacity was 41,159, but after numerous expansions, today stands at 45,500, although the venue's official record attendance for a sporting event stands at 44,380, set on 31 October 1993 for the 1994 FIFA World Cup Qualifier when the Socceroos played Argentina. The Sydney Football Stadium was the Sydney Roosters' home ground from 1988.
It was built on the site of the old Sydney Sports Ground which served as the Roosters home ground for decades, the old SCG No 2 which served as a secondary ground for some state cricket matches, an additional training ground, athletics. Both grounds were demolished in 1986 to make way for the SFS; the first event held at the venue marked the beginning of the 1988 Rugby League season, with a match between the Eastern Suburbs Roosters and the St George Dragons on Friday 4 March 1988. St George won the game 24-14; the Roosters had to wait until Round 5 that season for their first win at the venue, defeating the Gold Coast Giants 28-10. From 1988 to 1999 and from 2002 to 2005, it served as the home ground for the South Sydney Rabbitohs; the Rabbitohs returned to the ground with a one off game against the Broncos in Round 25 of the 2015 NRL season. The SFS has hosted rugby league football test matches since its opening in 1988 starting with two matches in Australia's 1988 Ashes series win against Great Britain.
The first game of the series saw the Wally Lewis captained, Don Furner coached Australians christen their new Sydney home with a 17-6 win in front of 24,480 fans. That game was the 100th test match between Australia and either Great Britain or England; the record international Rugby League crowd at the stadium was set for the first Ashes against Great Britain on their 1992 Australasian Tour when Australia won 22-6 in front of 40,141 in what was the first time a test in Sydney had attracted over 40,000 fans since 1974. The stadium has hosted the Rugby League Tri-Nations, including the Final of the 2006 tournament in which Australia triumphed 16-12 over New Zealand in Golden point extra-time thanks to a try by captain Darren Lockyer. Rugby league had some memorable moments including: The first grand final in 1988 saw Canterbury-Bankstown defeat Balmain 24-12 in front of 40,000 fans to send club captain Steve Mortimer into retirement with a premiership; the match had its controversial moment when Bulldogs Five-eighth Terry Lamb hit Tigers English import Centre Ellery Hanley with a high tackle out of the game before the 30th minute: The 1989 NSWRL grand final, won by the Canberra Raiders over the Balmain Tigers 19-14 thanks to a try by replacement forward Steve Jackson in extra-time for their first premiership: The 1991 NSWRL grand final won by the Penrith Panthers over Canberra 19-12 in which Penrith's Royce Simmons scored 2 tries in his final match giving the Panthers their first title: Brisbane's maiden premiership with a 28-8 win over St. George in 1992 NSWRL grand final, highlighted by a 95-metre try to Broncos Centre Steve Renouf: and the 1997 ARL Grand Final between the Newcastle Knights and the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, with the Knights winning their first title with a 22-16 win following a try to Darren Albert in the dying seconds of the game after the Knights had trailed Manly since early in the game.
Manly had won their previous 11 games against the Knights prior to that Grand Final. The last grand final played at the SFS was the 1998 NRL Grand Final between Brisbane. In front of 40,857 fans, the Broncos ran out easy 38-12 winners to win their 4th premiership from four grand Final appearances. Two standout State Of Origin matches in which Queensland triumphed over New South Wales with last-minute victories in 1994 and 1998, as well as Michael O'Connor's sideline conversion in driving rain for a NSW win in Game 2 of the 1991 series. Of note was Queensland's backs to the wall win in Game 2 of the 1989. Despite losing Allan Langer to a broken leg, Mal Meninga with a fractured eye socket and
Auckland is a city in the North Island of New Zealand. Auckland is the largest urban area in the country, with an urban population of around 1,628,900, it is located in the Auckland Region—the area governed by Auckland Council—which includes outlying rural areas and the islands of the Hauraki Gulf, resulting in a total population of 1,695,900. A diverse and multicultural city, Auckland is home to the largest Polynesian population in the world; the Māori-language name for Auckland is Tāmaki or Tāmaki-makau-rau, meaning "Tāmaki with a hundred lovers", in reference to the desirability of its fertile land at the hub of waterways in all directions. The Auckland urban area ranges to Waiwera in the north, Kumeu in the north-west, Runciman in the south. Auckland lies between the Hauraki Gulf of the Pacific Ocean to the east, the low Hunua Ranges to the south-east, the Manukau Harbour to the south-west, the Waitakere Ranges and smaller ranges to the west and north-west; the surrounding hills are covered in rainforest and the landscape is dotted with dozens of dormant volcanic cones.
The central part of the urban area occupies a narrow isthmus between the Manukau Harbour on the Tasman Sea and the Waitematā Harbour on the Pacific Ocean. Auckland is one of the few cities in the world to have a harbour on each of two separate major bodies of water; the isthmus on which Auckland resides was first settled around 1350 and was valued for its rich and fertile land. The Māori population in the area is estimated to have peaked at 20,000 before the arrival of Europeans. After a British colony was established in 1840, William Hobson Lieutenant-Governor of New Zealand, chose the area as his new capital, he named the area for Earl of Auckland, British First Lord of the Admiralty. It was replaced as the capital in 1865 by Wellington, but immigration to Auckland stayed strong, it has remained the country's most populous city. Today, Auckland's central business district is the major financial centre of New Zealand. Auckland is classified as a Beta + World City because of its importance in commerce, the arts, education.
The University of Auckland, established in 1883, is the largest university in New Zealand. Landmarks such as the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, the Harbour Bridge, the Sky Tower, many museums, parks and theatres are among the city's significant tourist attractions. Auckland Airport handles around one million international passengers a month. Despite being one of the most expensive cities in the world, Auckland is ranked third on the 2016 Mercer Quality of Living Survey, making it one of the most liveable cities; the isthmus was settled by Māori circa 1350, was valued for its rich and fertile land. Many pā were created on the volcanic peaks; the Māori population in the area is estimated to have been about 20,000 before the arrival of Europeans. The introduction of firearms at the end of the eighteenth century, which began in Northland, upset the balance of power and led to devastating intertribal warfare beginning in 1807, causing iwi who lacked the new weapons to seek refuge in areas less exposed to coastal raids.
As a result, the region had low numbers of Māori when European settlement of New Zealand began. On 27 January 1832, Joseph Brooks Weller, eldest of the Weller brothers of Otago and Sydney, bought land including the site of the modern city of Auckland, the North Shore, part of Rodney District for "one large cask of powder" from "Cohi Rangatira". After the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in February 1840, the new Governor of New Zealand, William Hobson, chose the area as his new capital and named it for George Eden, Earl of Auckland Viceroy of India; the land that Auckland was established on was given to the Governor by a local iwi, Ngāti Whātua, as a sign of goodwill and in the hope that the building of a city would attract commercial and political opportunities for iwi. Auckland was declared New Zealand's capital in 1841, the transfer of the administration from Russell in the Bay of Islands was completed in 1842; however in 1840 Port Nicholson was seen as a better choice for an administrative capital because of its proximity to the South Island, Wellington became the capital in 1865.
After losing its status as capital, Auckland remained the principal city of the Auckland Province until the provincial system was abolished in 1876. In response to the ongoing rebellion by Hone Heke in the mid-1840s, the government encouraged retired but fit British soldiers and their families to migrate to Auckland to form a defence line around the port settlement as garrison soldiers. By the time the first Fencibles arrived in 1848, the rebels in the north had been defeated. Outlying defensive towns were constructed to the south, stretching in a line from the port village of Onehunga in the west to Howick in the east; each of the four settlements had about 800 settlers. In the early 1860s, Auckland became a base against the Māori King Movement, the 12,000 Imperial soldiers stationed there led to a strong boost to local commerce. This, continued road building towards the south into the Waikato, enabled Pākehā influence to spread from Auckland; the city's population grew rapidly, from 1,500 in 1841 to 3,635 in 1845 to 12,423 by 1864.
The growth occurred to other mercantile-dominated cities around the port and with problems of overcrowding and pollution. Auckland's population of ex-soldiers was far greater than that of other settlements: about 50 percent of the popula
Wellington is the capital city and second most populous urban area of New Zealand, with 418,500 residents. It is located at the south-western tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Remutaka Range. Wellington is the major population centre of the southern North Island, is the administrative centre of the Wellington Region, which includes the Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa, its latitude is 41°17′S, making it the world's southernmost capital of a sovereign state. Wellington features a temperate maritime climate, is the world's windiest city by average wind speed; the Wellington urban area comprises four local authorities: Wellington City, on the peninsula between Cook Strait and Wellington Harbour, contains the central business district and about half the population. As the nation's capital since 1865, the New Zealand Government and Parliament, Supreme Court and most of the public service are based in the city. Architectural sights include the Government Building—one of the largest wooden buildings in the world—as well as the iconic Beehive.
Wellington is home to several of the largest and oldest cultural institutions in the nation such the National Archives, the National Library, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, numerous theatres. It plays host to many artistic and cultural organisations, including the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Royal New Zealand Ballet. One of the world's most liveable cities, the 2016 Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranked Wellington 12th in the world. Wellington's economy is service-based, with an emphasis on finance, business services, government, it is the centre of New Zealand's film and special effects industries, a hub for information technology and innovation, with two public research universities. Wellington is one of New Zealand's chief seaports and serves both domestic and international shipping; the city is served by the third busiest airport in the country. Wellington's transport network includes train and bus lines which reach as far as the Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa, ferries connect the city to the South Island.
Wellington takes its name from Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington and victor of the Battle of Waterloo: his title comes from the town of Wellington in the English county of Somerset. It was named in November 1840 by the original settlers of the New Zealand Company on the suggestion of the directors of the same, in recognition of the Duke's strong support for the company's principles of colonisation and his "strenuous and successful defence against its enemies of the measure for colonising South Australia". One of the founders of the settlement, Edward Jerningham Wakefield, reported that the settlers "took up the views of the directors with great cordiality and the new name was at once adopted". In the Māori language, Wellington has three names. Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara refers to Wellington Harbour and means "the great harbour of Tara". In New Zealand Sign Language, the name is signed by raising the index and ring fingers of one hand, palm forward, to form a "W", shaking it from side to side twice.
The city's location close to the mouth of the narrow Cook Strait leads to its vulnerability to strong gales, leading to the city's nickname of "Windy Wellington". Legends recount that Kupe explored the district in about the 10th century; the earliest date with hard evidence for Maori living in New Zealand is about 1280. Situated near the geographic centre of the country, Wellington was well placed for trade. In 1839 it was chosen as the first major planned settlement for British immigrants coming to New Zealand; the settlement was named in honour of Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington and victor of the Battle of Waterloo. European settlement began with the arrival of an advance party of the New Zealand Company on the ship Tory on 20 September 1839, followed by 150 settlers on the Aurora on 22 January 1840. Food processing plants, engineering industries, vehicle assembly and oil refineries were located in the NE which caused the main industrial growth in Hutt valley; the settlers constructed their first homes at Petone on the flat area at the mouth of the Hutt River.
When that proved swampy and flood-prone they transplanted the plans, drawn without regard for the hilly terrain. In 1865, Wellington became the capital city in place of Auckland, which William Hobson had made the capital in 1841; the New Zealand Parliament had first met in Wellington on 7 July 1862, on a temporary basis. There had been some concerns that the more populous South Island would choose to form a separate colony in the British Empire. Several Commissioners invited from Australia, chosen for their neutral status, declared that Wellington was a suitable location because of
Canterbury Cup NSW
The Canterbury Cup NSW is a rugby league competition for clubs in New South Wales known as the Intrust Super Premiership, NSW New South Wales Cup, NSWRL Premier League. It has a history dating back to the NSWRFL's origins in 1908, starting off as a reserve grade competition, it is now the premier open age competition in the state. The New South Wales Cup, along with the Queensland Cup, acts as a feeder competition to the National Rugby League premiership, it is contested by reserve squads of NSW-based NRL teams and includes sides representing teams that once competed at the first grade level in the NSWRL Premiership but do not field teams in the NRL competition. The North Sydney Bears are the only team to have competed in every season of the competition since 1908. *: The season the team joined competition in its current form and consecutive tenure. 20th century 21st century North Queensland Cowboys Sydney Roosters St Marys-Penrith Cougars Penrith Pumas South Sydney Rabbitohs Canberra Raiders Parramatta Eels Central Coast Bears St. George Illawarra Dragons Shellharbour City Dragons Illawarra Cutters Central Newcastle Rebels Central Coast Storm Bankstown City Bulls Cronulla-Sutherland Cobras Melbourne Storm Central Coast Centurions Balmain Tigers Balmain Ryde Eastwood Tigers Western Suburbs Magpies Auckland Vulcans Windsor Wolves Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles Wyong Roos † The club competed in the 1997 Super League season reserve-grade competition.
The New South Wales Cup, run by the NSWRL, has been known by a variety of names and operated in several different ways since the inception of the NSWRL Premiership in 1908. Between 1908 and 1996, the competition was known as Reserve Grade and was competed for exclusively by reserve squads of each of the NSWRL Premiership Clubs, competing with that Club's name and colours. With the advent of the Super League war, the resultant split competition in 1997, the NSWRL reconfigured the competition as the Presidents Cup. From 2002 until 2007, the competition was known as the NSWRL Premier League until it was reorganised into its present form as the New South Wales Cup in 2008. With the competitions having merged back together, with six NSWRL Premiership clubs having merged into three new NRL clubs the competition became known as the First Division and included these sides competing under their original name and colours; the inclusion of these non-NRL clubs in the competition signalled a move away from the'reserve squad' competition it had become and became differentiated from the NRL competition with games played at non-NRL venues such as North Sydney Oval, Marrickville's Henson Park and Western Weekender Stadium at St Marys.
Another trend that began during this period was the phenomenon of NRL clubs'out-sourcing' competing teams, with several NRL clubs choosing not to field sides in this competition and rather field either merged entities or form agreements with another club to take their place in the competition, those players being eligible for NRL selection, such as the agreement between Newtown Jets and Sydney Roosters for the 2006 season. In 2007, Bartercard Cup club Auckland Lions joined the competition. In 2008 and 2009, Jersey Flegg Cup club Central Coast Storm fielded a team in the competition; the team was acted as a feeder club to the Melbourne Storm. In addition the Panthers were replaced by the Windsor Wolves and the Sharks were replaced by the Cronulla-Sutherland Cobras; the Canberra Raiders withdrew from the competition on 1 August 2007. The Newcastle Knights announced a joint venture with the Central Charlestown; the team used the original Central Newcastle Rebels Name. The Parramatta Eels formed a joint-venture with the Wentworthville Magpies to act as their Feeder Club in the competition from 2008 onwards.
The Saints decided to no longer run a Reserve Grade Side, but would use the St George District Rugby League & the Illawarra District Rugby League competitions instead as their Feeder Team/s. Two new teams have been added to the competition; these two new teams will have both played in the Jim Beam Cup. The Shellharbour City Dragons known as the Shellharbour Marlins, will be the St George-Illawarra Dragons feeder side; the Bankstown Bulls, who were known as the Sydney Bulls, will act as the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs feeder side. Bankstown will still field a team in the Jim Beam Cup; the Manly-
Brent Sherwin is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer. Sherwin plays in the Illawarra Carlton League, an indirect feeder league to the St George Illawarra Dragons, he plays as a half-back. Sherwin played for the Catalans Dragons, Castleford Tigers, the Bulldogs and has been represented for City Origin. Sherwin played for the Bulldogs from 1999 to 2007, he was successful in obtaining the Dally M Award in 2002 but was narrowly beaten by Andrew Johns, despite Johns gaining points for a game in which he was sent off. While he has been dropped for poor form, Sherwin played a vital role in the Bulldogs' 2002 17-game winning streak and the 2004 premiership win. A handy goalkicker, Sherwin has been the top grade half since 2002 but has struggled to maintain his spot at the Bulldogs since, he is the current coach of the unbeatable St. Christophers A grade team, who participates in the ICC A grade competition and team members include the likes of Liam "Elastoplast" Eisenhuth, it is the 50th anniversary for the club deep in history.
2015 will be the clubs 3rd premiership in the past 10 years. Sherwin was born in Australia. Brent Sherwin joined Canterbury as a five-eighth with pinpoint goal kicking, he was a regular member for the under 19's squad and played in the Preliminary Final against the Penrith Panthers which they lost. In 1998, Sherwin was playing on the wing for the reserve side, he broke. He played in the eventual Premiers over Parramatta. In 1999, he started playing half-back for the reserve side. Due to the injury of Ricky Stuart, Sherwin got his first opportunity in first grade football. In 2000, Sherwin became a regular member of the Bulldogs squad. In 2001, Brent continued his success in the top grade playing off the bench. Due to injury, Sherwin was unable to play in the Semi Final against the Dragons. In 2002, Brent had a great season as he became the regular half back for the Canterbury Side, got his first taste of representative football, As he was selected to play for City Origin. In 2003, Brent was again a regular member of the team.
He played in the Preliminary Final, But lost against eventual runners-up the Sydney Roosters. Sherwin played halfback for the Bulldogs in their 2004 NRL grand final victory over cross-city rivals, the Sydney Roosters. In 2005, Sherwin's season was cut short due to a season-ending injury. In 2006, he came back with great form and played in the Preliminary Final which they lost to eventual premiers the Brisbane Broncos. In 2007, Sherwin started the season in the lower grades, but early in the season returned to top grade and played for the remainder of the season, he played in the preliminary final against the Parrametta Eels, but the Bulldogs went down 25-6 ending their season, which would turn out to be his last game playing for Canterbury. On 8 November 2007, the Bulldogs announced that Brent Sherwin had been released from the remainder of his contract. Sherwin signed with Castleford Tigers, on a 3-year contract with the English club, he will be the club's first choice scrum-half for the 2008 SL season.
Brent played 21 times for Castleford in 2008. He suffered niggling injuries through the campaign and the tigers fans were never able to see his best ability, he is hoping for full fitness for 2009 and a strong campaign where he will link up in the halves with Rangi Chase. Brent started the 2009 season in great form before suffering injury again, he has since come back for the final 3 games. Brent signed for the Catalans Dragons for the remainder of the 2010 season in a shock switch from Castleford. Sherwin returned to Australia in 2011, playing in the Illawarra Carlton League, an indirect feeder league to the St George Illawarra Dragons, he was appointed assistant coach for the Camden Rams in 2013 in the Group 6 Rugby League competition, working under former Bulldogs teammate Mitch Newton. Profile at castigers.com Castleford Tigers profile Brent Sherwin NRL Stats Brent Sherwin Bulldogs profile SL stats
Viliami William'Willie' Marshall Mason is a former professional rugby league footballer who played in the 2000s and 2010s. An Australia and Tonga international, New South Wales State of Origin representative forward, he played in the National Rugby League for Australian clubs: the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, the Sydney Roosters, the North Queensland Cowboys, the Newcastle Knights and the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles. Mason played in the Super League for English club the Hull Kingston Rovers and French club, the Catalans Dragons, he played rugby union in the Top 14 for French club RC Toulonnais. During his career Mason was involved in a number of controversial off-field incidents which have received media publicity due to his high profile in the NRL. Mason was born in Auckland, New Zealand to a mother of Tongan and African American descent and an Australian father, Mason moved to Australia at a young age and grew up in Toronto, New South Wales playing his junior football for the Toronto Macquarie Scorpions and the Lakes United Seagulls.
In 1997, Mason was signed by the Hunter Mariners and played in the lower grades until the club became defunct at the end of the year. In 1998, Mason played in the under-18s Jersey Flegg competition. In 1999, Mason suffered a leg fracture in the game before the Bulldogs' Jersey Flegg Grand Final win. In 2000, Mason moved on to the NSWRL Premier League. In Round 13 of the 2000 NRL season he made his NRL début for the Bulldogs against the Penrith Panthers after first-grader Darren Britt suffered an injury, he became a regular first-grader for the rest of the season. After the 2000 season, Mason made his international début for Tonga, his mother's country of origin, in the 2000 Rugby League World Cup played in Great Britain and Ireland. In 2002, Mason was reported to have run from a taxi to avoid paying the fare. After the 2002 NRL season, Mason was selected to make his début for Australia against Great Britain, he scored a try on debut. During 2003, Mason earned a call-up to make his début for New South Wales in Game 3 of the 2003 State of Origin series.
After the 2003 NRL season, he went on the 2003 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain and France, helping Australia to victory over Great Britain in what would be the last time the two nations contested an Ashes series. In 2003, he tested positive to an illicit social drug, reported to be an amphetamine, was fined $25,000 by his club. Mason has never commented on the issue publicly. In 2004, Mason along with Trent Waterhouse, Craig Wing, Craig Gower and Mark O'Meley, were fined for unprofessional behaviour and for leaving the team hotel after the side had returned from the night out. Mason forged another player's signature at an autograph event, after a heavy drinking session with teammates visited a brothel; the next season the Dogs reached the 2004 NRL Grand Final and triumphed 16–13 over the Sydney Roosters. Mason was awarded the Clive Churchill Medal for Man of the Match, he was selected in the Australian team to go and compete in the end of season 2004 Rugby League Tri-Nations tournament. In the final against Great Britain Mason played from the interchange bench and scored a try in the Kangaroos' 44–4 victory.
At the end of 2004, Mason played in Australia's win over the United States in an international rugby league friendly match at Philadelphia's Franklin Field but suffered a fractured ankle. Mason was out of action during the first half of the 2005 NRL season and did not play in the NRL until Round 18 where the Bulldogs, he played in the 2005 Tri-nations tournament. In June 2006, news speculation surfaced that Mason was considering joining the United States' National Football League, a childhood dream, he was said to be courted by several teams, including San Francisco 49ers. In July it was confirmed the New York Giants had offered him the opportunity to trial with them after the Rugby League Tri-Nations series finished in November. However, the Canterbury club had dismissed the deal, Mason remained with the club beyond 2006. In 2006, Willie returned to become a regular member of the Bulldogs team where he managed to play 20 club matches, all three Origin games for NSW – in which he was named Man of the Match in the opening game and three Tests for Australia in the 2006 Tri-Nations series.
He was a firm figure in the clubs return to finals football as the Bulldogs finished second on the ladder, the Dogs were beaten by eventual Premiers the Brisbane Broncos one game shy of the Grand Final. Mason was televised appearing to swear during the New Zealand haka, before game 1 of the 2006 Gillette Tri-nations Series. In the match Mason suffered a swollen black eye and suspected broken eye socket from a shoulder charge by David Kidwell. Mason explained that his swearing was in response to the traditional Māori dance being performed by Brent Webb, an Indigenous Australian of Torres Strait Islander origin who became a New Zealand citizen. Mason was banned for one game and fined $5,000 following an altercation with Stuart Fielden during Great Britain's defeat of Australia in November 2006. In December 2006 Mason took part in a trial with the New York Jets, but still maintained he would fulfil his contract with the Bulldogs until the end of the 2009 season. Mason said "I'm at the time in my career now where maybe it is time for a change.
New York City is the capital of the world. I'm pretty sure I could settle in there if given the opportunity..." However a Jets representative stated that Mason being offered a contract was unlikely, "I don't think they were football drills, it was more of a visit. We just had a look at him and, where we left it." The Jets coach Eric Mangini was impressed wi