NSW coach Graham Murray says Willie Mason could make it in American football but he hopes the barnstorming forward will stick with rugby league. Mason is reportedly pursuing a dream of playing in the NFL.
The Blues are training this morning with winger Eric Grothe and interchange Craig Wing part of the session despite bouts of flu. Murray says he expects some slicker execution from the Queensland backline with the inclusion of Darren Lockyer's Brisbane team mate Karmichael Hunt at fullback.
On the other side of town, in-form Queensland centre Justin Hodges must prove his fitness at Maroons training today to confirm his spot in next Wednesday's clash at Suncorp Stadium. Hodges suffered a four-centimetre hamstring tear in last month's opening Origin game but completed most of yesterday's training session.
Hodges says if he feels any hint of a twinge he'll pull the pin to give his replacement, likely to be Penrith's Rhys Wesser, ample time to prepare. Queensland has already lost Greg Inglis to a back problem and Tonie Carroll a knee injury.
Meanwhile, Sydney Roosters centre Ryan Cross will meet with his manager John Fordham today to weigh up a likely move to rugby union. The Roosters yesterday withdrew their two-year offer to CROSS, fuelling speculation he'll follow Mat Rogers, Lote Tuqiri and Wendell Sailor to union.
The former representative centre has three offers from Super 14 teams to consider although Fordham maintains his client could remain in league with several expressions of interest from NRL and English Super League clubs.
And this week�s action kicks-off with reigning premiers West Tigers eyeing a move into the top eight if they beat Manly at Brookvale. Both the Tigers and Sea Eagles are chasing three wins in succession but have to do it without key personnel on Origin duty.
The Tigers are missing fullback Brett Hodgson and Manly has three key men out � Brent Kite, Steve Menzies and Steven Bell. The Tigers can slip into the top half of the ladder if they beat the Sea Eagles by 19 points or more.