Willie Mason ($178,100 FRF/2RF) trial debut for the North Queensland has almost gone unnoticed except for his hulking frame and applause from the run on. Competing in the first half of the victory over the Queensland Cup team the Northern Pride, Mason failed to have an impact early dropping a couple of balls and generally being avoided by the Prides offence. A couple of hit ups in the second half against the Warriors gave Coach Neil Henry and DT Coaches an indication of what Mason might be capable of this season for the Cowboys. Playing under testing conditions, strong defence coupled with handling errors kept the scores tight for most of the match until late in the second half when the Warriors ran away with three tries to seal the win. “Credit to the Warriors. They seemed to have a bit more cohesion in their attack,” Henry said.”We were a bit disappointing with our attack.” The Cowboys were missing Jonathan Thurston ($268,600 HLV) a late withdrawal with hamstring tightness although Ray Thompson (Not Listed), Grant Rovelli ($159,500 HLV) and Aaron Payne ($237,500 HOK) all showed spark when in the role. Warriors mentor Ivan Cleary was also pleased with his sides pre season form, “A lot of players are playing well at this stage which is a pretty good sign. “I thought we got better as the game went on in terms of our direction and the way we wanted to play. Defensively, we were pretty strong.” Cleary also mentioned that Queensland Origin Star Brent Tate ($148,900 CTW) will more than likely make his return from injury next Saturday in Auckland.

NZ WARRIORS 28 (L Hohaia 2 A Heremaia P Ah Van B Tupou tries B Seymour K Locke R Packer S Johnson goals) bt NORTH QUEENSLAND 6 (O Geia try J Williams goal) at Barlow Park, Cairns.

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