Big Willie Mason has been benched from appearing in a membership drive advertising campaign by the Newcastle Knights because he is yet to re-sign with the club
Knights chief executive Matt Gidley said the decision to not use Mason in the commercial was purely precautionary.
He said there is absolutely nothing to suggest Mason won't be at the club next season.
"Willie's 99 per cent going to be here," Gidley said yesterday. "It's really close. The new deal is basically done."
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"We didn't want it coming back on us that Willie hasn't officially signed. That's the only reason we have done it."
Ayoub confirmed yesterday the deal was almost done.
"I've been away and Matt Gidley has also had some time off but it's just a matter of dotting a few i's and crossing a few t's with Willie now," Ayoub said.
He added that a new deal between the Knights and Mason's younger brother Rodney is also close to being announced.