“He was always a very good kick, like Dustin. Dustin was going to try and go over there himself but his career went too long.”
Ken played 264 games for Essendon between 1967 and 1980, winning the club’s 1978 best and fairest and captaining the Bombers from 1977 to 1979. Dustin played 400 games for the Bombers and won premierships in 1994 and 2000 and is considered one of the club’s greatest ever defenders.
Mason has trained with Essendon and played for the Calder Cannons in the NAB League.
He did not enter last year’s draft because of back injuries but was considering trying for 2020, with recruiters rating him as a possible rookie list option. Ken says Mason’s red hair and rangy physique aren’t the only similarities with Dustin.
“I personally thought if he had gotten onto a rookie list and someone took the trouble to build him up for a year-and-a-half he could have been a good player,” Ken said. “I think he had the attributes and he didn’t have the physical strength.
“Who knows? If he doesn’t make it over there he might come back and have another try. It is up to him really.
“I reckon he would be a defender [at AFL level]. He is a beautiful kick, he reads the play well, smothers well like Dustin. That’s the sort of player he is.
Ken said he would have to get himself acquainted with American football before his grandson’s move to the US.
“I haven’t watched a lot of it. But I know the kicking is pretty important although they’re not on the field that long. So as long as they don’t fumble, their chance of getting hammered isn’t as much as if you were playing the game normally.”
Mason has trained with Australian punting school Prokick, which helped Arryn Siposs get to the Detroit Lions and Mitch Wishnowsky to the San Francisco 49ers.
Anthony is a sports and general news reporter at The Age.