SBW: "Get up you weak ****!!!"

Written By Unknown on Senin, 23 September 2013 | 23.40

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"GET up you weak ****!!!"

Those were the first four words that greeted Willie Mason after he was felled to the Hunter Stadium turf on 28 July.

Hardly synonymous with friendly fire, they came from one of Mason's closest mates and also the man responsible for his demise: Sonny Bill Williams. 

Given the fascinating history between two of the game's most talked-about figures, there was surprisingly little hype prior to their first clash in five years that afternoon. 

And given the disparity in form between Newcastle and the Roosters at the time, few could have predicted the infamous collision would blossom into a promoter's dream for the second grand final qualifier. 

The savage sequence of Williams knocking his former Bulldogs team mate into orbit with an illegal high shot, then delivering his stricken friend a gobful of colourful encouragement, was a rare revival of the game's primal past where forward battles were purely personal. 

In the victorious Roosters dressing rooms after full time, Williams knew the high shot would most likely earn him a suspension and yet was still fired-up. 


Before a huge and hostile Sunday afternoon crowd, Williams wanted to make a statement about his team's authority in this premiership.

To do so he needed to eliminate the opposition's most dominant forward.

That the target so happened to be Mason amplified the theatre, but it's likely the Knights veteran would have been forewarned.

In Round Five Williams tried a similar shot on another member of his old Belmore rat pack, Eels hard man Reni Maitua.

When Williams made his unforgettable entrance into the NRL in 2004, he, Mason and Maitua were a band of brothers whose ties helped Canterbury win the title that season. 

They remained close for the next three years, spending as much time as possible between training at Belmore and socialising in the Eastern Suburbs. At the time, Williams and Maitua shared a house in 

Maroubra, while Mason lived with his partner's parents in Clovelly. 

But when the socialising outstripped the hard work Canterbury failed to achieve further success with a roster that screamed dynasty. 

Under-achievement led to finger pointing and dissatisfaction, and Mason suddenly quit the club at the end of 2007 to join the Roosters. 

Williams was devastated and angry. He was preparing to sign a long-term deal on the basis that friends like Mason would remain at Canterbury for life. 

"Mase leaving was pretty much the beginning of the end for that Canterbury side," a former Bulldogs staffer said.

"He was such a big character. He kind of held all those boys together."

Mason's departure coincided with a change of lifestyle from Williams, who found a new agent Khoder Nasser, and stopped socialising. The second half of the train-hard, play-harder cultural equation that had dictated his football career to that point was suddenly redundant. 

But just months before Williams quit in July 2008, there would be time for one last encounter with Mason when the Roosters played Canterbury before 42,000 fans at ANZ Stadium. 

The pair embraced that night, but Williams was still consumed by resentment. He would need to leave and forge a name in his own right before Mason could be entirely forgiven. 

The olive branch was extended and accepted many years ago, when both players were in Europe. 

Although Mason now lives in Newcastle, they still catch up frequently in Sydney when either player will hire a hotel room for the weekend. 

There most recent meeting was for brunch at Brighton-Le-Sands, halfway between Williams' house in Oatley and Mason's old Clovelly base. 

It came just weeks after the notorious hit, and, sadly for fans salivating at the prospect of more carnage, revenge was strictly off the menu.

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