Hull chase controversial Australian

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The Independent Online

Hull have begun talks to try to bring Willie Mason, one of the world's best – and most controversial – players, to the KC Stadium. The Australia Test forward is set to leave the Bulldogs club and could consider a move to Super League. He has fallen out with the club over their refusal to let him box in a charity bout and the levying of a A$50,000 (£22,000) fine for failing to attend club functions.

There appears to be no way back for him at the Bulldogs and few other NRL clubs would have room for him under their salary cap. "We have spoken to his agent," said Hull's chief executive, James Rule. "That being said, for Willie to leave Australia is a long shot. However, we are an ambitious club and we are doing everything we can."

Mason has had a colourful career, including a suspension in last year's Tri-Nations after punching Stuart Fielden and a head-tackle on Sean Long. Hull are also being linked with the New Zealand Warriors' centre, Todd Byrne.

The Great Britain coach, Tony Smith, is in a quandary over how to keep some of his series-winning side out of the third Test against New Zealand on Saturday. The side clinched the series by winning at Hull on Saturday and Smith hinted at resting some of his heavily worked players, including his captain, Jamie Peacock, at Wigan.

But Smith has found that all his internationals are desperate to play, rather than stand down to allow fringe players to gain some experience ahead of next year's World Cup, with Peacock particularly reluctant to be left out. "I'd probably have to tie him down for him not to run out there on Saturday night," Smith said.

Great Britain have no injury problems, with James Roby available again after he was given last weekend off because his partner had given birth to their first baby prematurely.

Wales are waiting for news on Lee Briers, the half-back who was taken to hospital with a leg injury after the World Cup qualifier in Glasgow on Sunday that put Scotland through. Wales have to beat Lebanon on Friday to keep their hopes alive.