Mason calls the tune for rampant Rovers

Hull KR 40 Crusaders 22

The Willie Mason bandwagon trundled over the Crusaders as Rovers' iconic new signing showed what an asset he could be to his new club.

The Australian Test forward, who arrived this week after lengthy immigration delays, had two longish stints, the first of them particularly impressive from someone who had not played for six months.

"Everything worked out well," Mason said. "It was a bit daunting, but I've been exposed to this kind of circus before and performed. I think I can only get better."

Mason's new side were delighted with his opening offering. "He looked really good, especially with the ball in hand," said Rovers' assistant coach, Chris Chester. "He probably played more minutes than he expected, but he's going to be a great signing for Hull KR."

Mason's Rovers career began auspiciously and they were well on the way to winning this game after his first 22 minutes in their colours. Every time he carried the ball up, there were three tacklers waiting for him. Almost every time, he managed to slip it to a man in support.

It was his offload to Shaun Briscoe that helped to set up the first try after five minutes, with Blake Green's break and pass to Ben Galea doing the rest. Crusaders' full-back Clinton Schifcofske completely lost a kick in the low sunlight, allowing Craig Hall to pounce and Scott Murrell to score.

But it was Mason's role in the third try that had "cult hero" written all over it. Taking the ball from Green on an angled run, he passed it one-handed for Liam Watts. It was not merely four points, it was a thing of beauty.

It can only have been a coincidence, because Mason had not even been pretending to get heavily involved in defence but, as soon as he went off, Crusaders scored, Stuart Reardon winning the leap for Michael Witt's kick.

After Peter Fox had jumped acrobatically to keep a penalty out of touch, however, Rovers finished the half well in command through Kris Welham's try.

It was not until Mason re-appeared 10 minutes into the second half, however, that the Robins began to fire on all cylinders again. His menacing presence on the left edge of the attack coincided with gaps appearing on the right, duly exploited by Clint Newton for tries by Jake Webster and Green.

The game won, Rovers slackened off badly to concede tries to Jarrod Sammut, Peter Lupton and a second to Reardon.

Welham's intercept from Witt rounded it off satisfactorily for a crowd of 8,602 that might have been considered slightly disappointing, given all the build-up. The positive note is that they saw enough to whet the appetite for more of Big Willie Mason.

"We made it easy for him," said the Crusaders' coach, Iestyn Harris. "But he's a big bloke and he's going to be a handful."

Hull KR Briscoe; Fox, Webster Welham, Hall; Green, Murrell; Watts, Fisher, Netherton, Newton, Mason, Galea. Replacements Wheeldon, Cockayne, Hodgson, Lovegrove.

Crusaders Schifcofske; Reardon, Martin, Mellars, Williams; Witt, Sammut; O'Hara, Withers, Bryant, Lupton, Chan, Flower. Replacements Moore, Dudson, White, Murphy.

Referee Hicks (Oldham).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...