Mason and Maitua may return early

Bulldogs duo Willie Mason and Reni Maitua will undergo fitness tests later this week which could clear them to make earlier than expected returns from injury.

Bulldogs doctor Hugh Hazard is confident Maitua will be right to make a comeback from an ankle injury in this weekend's N-R-L clash with the New Zealand Warriors. He has also described Mason as a "50-50" proposition to play his first game of 2005.

Maitua's comeback would be a major boost for the `Dogs after it was initially feared the utility would not return until just before the finals. He injured his ankle in the City-Country clash on May 6. Mason has yet to play this season after breaking a bone in his foot on last year's Kangaroo tour.

Both are set to train with the side this week, with general fitness the key to any comeback plans.