The thought of being reunited with Willie Mason brings a rare smile to Wayne Bennett’s face.
But a Broncos lifeline for Manly veteran Mason appears as unlikely as a Bennett giggling fit.
Brisbane master coach Bennett may not appear to have much in common with Mason.
Bennett is the tee-totalling elder of rugby league.
The free-wheeling Mason? Not so much.
However, Bennett’s eyes lit up at the mere mention of Mason’s name ahead of Friday night’s NRL clash with the Sea Eagles at Suncorp Stadium.
Bennett resurrected Mason’s career at Newcastle in 2012 and the ex-Test forward repaid the faith.
League’s “odd couple” made quite a duo, providing much needed mirth during Bennett’s tumultuous three-year Knights tenure under controversial owner Nathan Tinkler.
And Bennett seemed keen to renew their unlikely double act in Brisbane after the Knights clash.
No prizes for guessing who will play the straight man.
“Willie? I am sure we will have some sort of conversation – he can’t help but talk, big Willie,” Bennett smiled.
“I am looking forward to seeing him.
“He was great for me at the Knights. I loved coaching him and I am pleased he is still playing.
“The game will be poorer when he is not around.”
At 35, Mason was the first to admit his 15-year NRL career may finally be over at season’s end in the wake of Daly Cherry-Evans’ backflip.
“I don’t know how that changes the financial side of things at Manly – if it’s the end, then it’s the end I guess,” he told Fox Sports TV.
Bennett hoped Mason’s “larger than life” personality did not overshadow the evergreen forward’s legacy when the curtain did eventually fall.
“He is incredible actually,” Bennett said of the longevity of Mason, who played the last of his 24 Tests and 13 Origins for NSW in 2008.
“He’s had no major injuries, he never missed a training session at the Knights.”
Bennett then stopped suddenly.
“If he hears me talking about him like this he will ring me up wanting a contract,” Bennett laughed.
Any chance he will sign him?
“No. Brisbane is not big enough for Willie,” Bennett said with a wicked smile.