GIL Dudson is used to being in the last chance saloon – he feels he has been in it for a while after Salford saved him from the scrapheap.
The Welsh prop was in a dark place after being relegated from Super League with Widnes and seeing pals caught up in the Vikings’ financial meltdown that almost saw them go bust.
But the Red Devils came calling and the 29-year-old feels he has had a new lease of life after doubting whether he would ever get to the top level again.
Dudson revealed: “I had a couple of tough years at Widnes, especially at the end as I had injuries and we got relegated.
“That was probably the lowest I’ve been and when it gets to that point you struggle to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“However, Salford gave me that lifeline. They extended the branch and the decision was to take it but I said to my wife, ‘This is my last chance saloon.’
“A lot of people had written me off, especially being out so much at the back end of last season. You’re only remembered for your last involvements, aren’t you?
“So I went there with a mindset of proving people wrong and proving to myself that I still had what it takes.
“And this year is probably the best I’ve ever played. It’s also the fittest I’ve probably ever been and I’ve rediscovered my love for rugby again.”
Dudson, who insists he does not have a sponsorship deal with a tape company even though he wears that much of it, went close to upsetting Wigan as Ian Watson’s men lost 18-12.
Now it is all or nothing against Castleford but after being showed how play-off rugby is done, he feels Salford can show they have learned, as they have so many times after going from nearly being relegated to third.
He added: “For a lot of our lads, that was their first taste of play-off rugby whereas Wigan do it year in, year out.
“We’ve been taking little steps throughout the season and knocking off targets. That was another lesson we’ve got to grow from.
“That was definitely a step forward for us. We almost got relegated last year, so we’ve had to tick a lot of targets off.
“It’s knockout now. Win and we go through, lose and we go home. It’s as simple as that.”
TOP RUGBY LEAGUE STORIES