Veteran Newcastle Knights front-rower Willie Mason says the Knights may not have been as lucky in their season-turning 16-10 victory over the Parramatta Eels if it was played earlier on in the season.
A sense of relief was obvious in the Newcastle sheds following their win over the Eels and it was a happy Mason, surrounded by equally happy teammates, who admitted that their luck throughout the season may have dictated another loss if it weren't for their recent form reversal.
"We were in games like that previously with the Bulldogs and Manly, who are top four teams, and we were done right in the end so it's fair to say that those ones would've got away from us," Mason told NRL.com.
"Who knows, this game could've gone to 16-all and then to golden point and garbage like that – that was our sort of luck.
"In the last month or so though we have put it all together and are playing some good football and I think it's all coming off the back of our training and just being happy. We're enjoying each other's company."
While the Knights have had their fair share of dramas on and off the field this season, Mason is just happy to shut the critics up for the time being.
"It's always happy when you win games, but it sucks when you lose, and it's always happy regardless of any off-field dramas and all the bullshit that everyone else wants to bring up," Mason said.
"It's good to get two wins in a row and now we get the bye so more or less it's now three [straight weeks of competition points]."
While the bye weekend will give the club a much-needed break away from football, the Knights change in form has come at a good time especially considering their place at the foot of the ladder before facing the Eels.
Ultimately, the chance to secure back-to-back wins for the first time this season was too good of a chance to let go for the fiercely competitive Mason and his cohort of Knights teammates and it showed in the grittiness of his team's performance.
"Everyone knew we had to muscle up against Parramatta because they have shown all year that they're big, they're strong, they're powerful and they really take you on, and they're young as well, so they really stick it to you," Mason said.
"If you wanted to go out there sort of half-hearted you're going to get run through so I think as a forward pack we had to really get out there and rip into them and we did that, we managed them and we scrambled pretty good and we defended our line like we haven't defended all year so I was really happy with that.
While things are working for the bullocking 34-year-old on the field, Mason believes he still possesses what it takes to go again next season and beyond.
"I'll keep playing and competing," Mason said. "You know if mentally I don't really feel like playing, I won't play and I can hang the boots up whenever I want and I don't feel like doing that at the moment."