Willie Mason spray divides NRL world as ugly dramas at Bulldogs intensify

The Canterbury great unloaded on his own club in an expletive-laden rant that has divided opinion.

Willie Mason, pictured here talking about the Bulldogs.
Willie Mason had some choice words amid the dramas engulfing the Bulldogs. Image: Levels Podcast/Getty

Some NRL fans have questioned whether Willie Mason is the right person to be dishing out lessons on club culture and discipline as Canterbury's season from hell draws to an ugly end. Mason, a member of the current Canterbury coaching staff, came out swinging this week after reports a Dogs player had walked on the club after being subjected to a humiliating wrestling session against teammates as punishment for being late to training.

It came on the back of a group of players allegedly complaining about coach Cameron Ciraldo's unyielding training demands. Mason, who played 148 games for the club, told the Levels podcast: "It's f**king soft as s**t. If you can't deal with it, you’re not going to be f**king there. Because there’s high standards at the club, regardless of what’s happening right now with where we’re coming on the ladder.

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"There’s no excuses and you’ll get weeded out of the club and that’s what Ciro wants to do. This is a way of fishing them out. All this s**t’s getting out there, if you can’t handle the way the Bulldogs play and train, this is not your f**king club. And they’ll find out."

Willie Mason, pictured here before a Canterbury Bulldogs game.
Willie Mason looks on before a Canterbury Bulldogs game. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

NRL world divided over Willie Mason's comments

Mason was the most outspoken player of his era, frequently challenging authority and clashing with officialdom after speaking his mind on a range of issues. He had a memorable fallout with Canterbury coach Steve Folkes in 2007, which led to a messy departure to cross-town rivals the Roosters.

Folkes said at the time the Dogs would be better off without Mason, adding: "Willie wasn't prepared to fall in line and do some of the things he was requested to do." While many have applauded Mason's hard-arse attitude to the current drama at Belmore, others have suggested it's another example of a toxic workplace.

WARNING: Following video contains NSFW language:

One fan wrote: "I’d be ashamed for my club and fuming if had a son there if a club employee involved in development like Willie Mason came out publicly tearing down a player. Ex-players can’t preach mental health if spitting rubbish under guise of not working hard."

Another wrote: "Comments by Willie Mason indicate the level of professionalism @NRL_Bulldogs. No wonder the club is in all sorts."

Other suggested Ciraldo's methods are exactly what the Dogs need and praised Mason for backing the "no short cuts". Canterbury's nightmare 2023 campaign ends on Sunday with a trip to the Gold Coast to meet the Titans.

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