Willie Mason refuses to concede his controversial NRL career is over despite almost certainly playing his final game with Manly.
The 35-year-old faces an uncertain future after being charged with a grade one shoulder charge by the NRL Match Review Committee on Monday.
Mason is facing three to four weeks out for his hit on Sydney Roosters’ Dylan Napa in the first tackle of the Sea Eagles’ 46-10 loss on Friday night.
The game was the Sea Eagles veteran’s first match back after serving two games for a shoulder charge.
Mason will miss three matches with an early guilty plea and four games should he contest the charge at the judiciary and lose.
A shoulder charge usually results in a two-game suspension but Mason has been hit hard because of loading for two prior similar offences.
Unless he successfully fights the charge at the judiciary, he will not play for Manly again due to the Sea Eagles being out of finals contention.
He has not been offered a new contract by Manly and has yet to secure a new club for next year.
He has spoken of his desire to extend his career into a 17th season and last week said he was confident of picking up a club for 2016.
On Monday he vowed, via twitter, to play on, saying “it’s far from over” and “The show goes on!”
It would be a disappointing end to a colourful career should Mason go out watching on from the sidelines.
He has played 292 NRL games, for Canterbury, Sydney Roosters, North Queensland, Newcastle and Manly, 13 State of Origins for NSW and 24 Tests for Australia. He also had a one-year stint in the English Super League and French Rugby.
He was a magnet for controversy early in his career but has matured in his later years to become an entertaining and well-liked media performer.
His indiscretions included failing an in-house drug test at the Bulldogs, being sacked from the 2004 NSW side and fined $6000 for unprofessional behaviour and drinking and in 2009 he was fined $20,000 by the Roosters for urinating in public.
Meanwhile, Bulldogs forward Frank Pritchard will be free to play in his side’s final round match against the Warriors despite being charged for a high tackle on Newcastle’s Jake Mamo.
He will miss no matches regardless of whether he enters an early guilty plea or if he pleads not guilty and loses.
Brisbane second-rower Alex Glenn will miss the Broncos’ blockbuster showdown with Melbourne on Thursday after accepting a one-match ban for a crusher tackle.
The club pleaded no contest to a dangerous contact charge stemming from Thursday’s 47-12 thrashing of South Sydney.
Warriors forward Charlie Gubb is set to miss four to five weeks after being booked for two shoulder charges.
He was cited for separate hits on Ava Seumanufagai and Pat Richards in his side’s 50-16 loss to Wests Tigers on Sunday.
Newcastle prop Korbin Sims will miss one week after being charged with dangerous contact for a knee lift on Canterbury’s Greg Eastwood.
Gold Coast hooker Kierran Moseley will be free to play on the weekend after accepting an early guilty plea to a dangerous contact charge.