Wigan star Dom Manfredi admitted that he came close to giving up rugby league after a two-year injury nightmare.
The 25-year-old returned to first-team action for the first time in 762 days in the Warriors’ win over Warrington Wolves in the Super 8s last month after suffering two serious knee injuries.
Manfredi has played four games since and will walk out of the Old Trafford tunnel in the Grand Final on Saturday – but he revealed that he nearly came close to quitting the game in what was a dark and testing two years.
He said: “I’ll be honest, I was ready to give up a few times and that was the lowest point I had got to.
“But I said to myself that ‘I need to give it one last go’ and throw everything at it and if it didn’t work out for me then at least I could say to myself ‘I’ve tried’ but here we are.
“I could have thrown the towel in – but I just put the hard work in. My time out was mentally tough as well, so I had to get over the mental side of it and that has got me to where I am today.
“I had a graft on my leg, so both legs were wrapped up for a bit and I remember lying down and thinking ‘what am I going to do?’
“My family, friends, staff and players have been really good with me. I wouldn’t be where I am without them.”
Manfredi suffered his first serious knee injury just before Wigan beat Warrington in the 2016 Grand Final and was made to watch the game from the sidelines.
And the winger said it would be a fairytale outcome if he could help the Warriors win the Grand Final on Saturday.
He added: “To be honest, I didn’t think I would get to run out at all this year in a Wigan shirt, so to be in the Grand Final at Old Trafford is massive.
“It was tough to watch in 2016 but I was made up for the lads, don’t get me wrong – but it was really tough to watch knowing that I had played all year and got injured right at the last minute. I didn’t feel part of it and I’m sure other lads would say the same in my position.
“Waney (Shaun Wane) has been really good with me, as have all the staff. They’ve been there for me, always made sure that I’m okay and I can’t thank them enough.
“To win the Grand Final on Saturday would be a dream come true. I can’t even put it into words how special it would be.”