WHEN I MET KEITH MASON
I heard Keith Mason speak at a ruby club event that was raising money for their young players to go to France, including one of my grandsons. To say he was inspirational is a gross understatement being raised by his mum after his dad ran out on them, he told stories of how he turned himself around from always being in trouble with the police, to become a Super League rugby player, film star and now author. He is an awesome ambassador for youngsters to look up to and steer on the right path with positive energy. Giving them focus and keeping them out of trouble. It was a real pleasure to talk to him as he literally filled the room with such good vibes and even coming back to the club to meet the young players and talk to them.
Professional Rugby League star and entrepreneur David King is thrust into a deadly game when his family is kidnapped and held to ransom. King goes on a blood-fuelled rampage to retrieve them from the clutches of their captors – will he succeed or will their fate be sealed?
The Super League players who will be staring in ‘Rugby Blood Origins’ are:
Luther Burrell (Warrington Wolves), Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves), Jake Connor (Hull FC), Konrad Hurrell (Leeds Rhinos), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants), Mark Percival (St Helens) and Jake Trueman (Castleford Tigers).
Rugby Blood’s central character is David King. King’s life is based on my own story, with a hero twist.
He is a professional rugby league star and entrepreneur who is thrust into a deadly game when his family is kidnapped and held for ransom.
He goes on a blood-fuelled rampage to save them – will he succeed, or will his family’s fate be sealed?
Rugby Blood will also feature athletes from other sports. Former world champion boxer, Joe Calzaghe, features in the second instalment, called ‘Shot Clock’, which is set in New York.
My aim is to make clear to the next generation of rugby players, athletes and everyday people that one chapter of your life doesn’t define the whole story.
When one door closes, as it did to me, you have to work hard, dedicate yourself and make sacrifices to open a new door. Write your own next chapter.
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
This is a comic type book aimed at getting through to teenagers and youngsters, showing them that their lives are in their own hands. They hold their own destiny. The main character in the story is based on the author himself, rugby league legend Keith Mason as King. King the main series character is taken under the wing of Bronson who teaches him to control his impulses and focus his energy in training and playing his top game in rugby.
Other top rugby players feature in the comic, heroes of the game that these kids can aspire to be like. The pages are set out like a comic, with action sketches, a great story and length to encourage non-readers to get to the end of and still want more. What is brilliant about the author is he just doesn’t want these teenagers to look up to him, he wants to believe in these lads and lasses that read these comics too. It feels like he is truly rooting for all of them.
The message in the story is very strong, you don’t have to accept what life has dealt you, you can change that, it is the choices you make that make you who you are.
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My playing career came to an end in 2013. I retired at 31 after playing top level Rugby League in the UK and Australia for 15 years.
What I didn’t anticipate was the struggle I’d ultimately go through after leaving the game I’d devoted my life to.
I struggled and ended up questioning my whole existence, which led to a bout of depression. I was in massive debt, lost two houses, became homeless, lost my driving licence and was struggling to see my kids. It came to a point where I knew it was give up or re-invent myself.
I had done some acting and appearing in a film (A Hitman in London, 2015) alongside my good friend Mickey Rourke gave me a new focus in life.
It was also around that time that I met my current partner, Riona. She inspired me to believe in myself again.
I was also asked to go and speak to a former player who had attempted suicide. I could see similarities between my struggles and his, and I wanted to show him that rugby formed only a part of his life.
Sadly, this young man lost his battle with depression. When I found out it made me want to reach out to other players in a hope that I could make a difference.
It was his death that inspired me to come up with a concept that could relate to all players, past and present, not just in rugby and sport but in all areas of life.
Rugby Blood started as a film script, written by myself and [scriptwriter, director] Ben Von Cronos, but I didn’t want to stop at a film. I wanted it to be bigger, to have a bigger impact.
So I decided to find an artist who could help me create the first ever rugby comic. Together with Paul Roper we brought it to life.
By using real players in the comic I wanted to be able to connect with the audience and make the players the heroes.
Not only will it raise their profile, I also wanted it to raise awareness about the real struggles athletes go through.