NRL: Bulldogs legend Willie Mason lands new gig

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Bulldogs legend Willie Mason will return to the club in a coaching role ahead of what shapes as a crucial season for the battling NRL side’s head coach, Trent Barrett.

The Bulldogs announced on Monday that Mason had been appointed pathways transition coach, helping to develop NRL prospects into elite footballers.

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“(Mason) will look to help shape and develop pathways players in regard to the skills and attitude required to become an NRL player,” the Bulldogs said in a statement.

The role seems a good fit for Mason, who played over 300 first grade matches and has proven a keen analyst of the modern game on his NRL podcast The Take With Willie Mason.

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In his new job, Mason will work closely with head coach Trent Barrett, who will be under intense pressure following a dismal season last year.

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Due in no small part to their spine’s inexperience, the Bulldogs won just three games in Barrett’s first season in charge.

But with the likes of Josh Addo-Carr, Matt Burton, Matt Dufty, Tevita Pangai Jr and Paul Vaughan heading to Belmore for the upcoming season, and rugby league mastermind Phil Gould entering his first full year as the club’s general manager of football, fans will expect a dramatic improvement in 2022.

Mason has already begun his role helping the Bulldogs to turn the tide.

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Camera IconWillie Mason was one of the hardest hitters in the NRL during his playing days. Credit: News Corp Australia

Mason began his NRL career at the Bulldogs and quickly became a cult hero thanks to his hulking frame, physical style of play and short-lived afro hairstyle.

Between the early and mid 2000s, he was part of the club’s formidable forward pack that boasted the likes of Sonny Bill Williams, Andrew Ryan, Mark O’Meley and Roy Asotasi.

Mason won the Clive Churchill Medal as man of the match in the Bulldogs’ last grand final win in 2004. He is one of only three prop forwards ever to have won the award.

After 148 games with the Bulldogs, Mason plied his trade at the Roosters, Knights, Cowboys and Sea Eagles as well as in the Super League.

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