Krisnan Inu didn’t even have a club partway through the season but now the Salford centre stands one game away from the Betfred Super League Grand Final.
The experienced 32-year-old was faced with a season on the sidelines having been released by Widnes Vikings in early March, becoming a free agent after signing a two-year deal.
Training with Salford gave him much-needed fitness and it wasn’t long before a full-time move came to fruition for the former New Zealand and Samoa international.
Seven months on and Inu is preparing for one of the most important games in Salford’s history, facing off with Wigan Warriors this Friday for a place in the biggest night in Super League.
“I wasn’t really thinking about the Grand Final until I moved over here,” he said. “Being part of the club through the season, we had a few ups and downs and we were written off, so it wouldn’t have been the first thing to come to mind.
“It would be up there, there have been lots of stories in the past about the great players and great teams before us.
“It would be a fairy-tale for a bunch of guys that wouldn’t normally be put together like this. Being where we are is full credit to Ian, his staff and everyone around us.
“It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster, the season didn’t start the way I wanted it to and nobody plans to be released that early, taking part in pre-season for one club and then lining up for another.
“I’m happy to be where I am, and I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve had from the team to be here.”
Salford are bidding for their first Grand Final appearance and are in fine fettle after thrashing Castleford 22-0 to reach the Preliminary Final.
Now they have the unenviable task of beating defending Super League champions Wigan if they want to reach Old Trafford.
Salford have lost all four of this season’s meetings – including the Qualifying Final at the DW Stadium just two weeks ago.
But throwing everything on the line makes this a different task entirely for Inu and his Red Devils.
“Playing Wigan is always tight, and being back here after losing here a few weeks ago does give us a lift,” he added.
“It’s a do-or-die match. We have to make sure we prepare well for it.
“You try and learn from every game, the experiences and mistakes, and everything you did either right or wrong along the way.
“There’s a bit more in it having lost a couple of weeks ago but it’s about making sure we prepare well enough.
“We’ve played them a few times and this is the time where we have to pull our sleeves up and perform better than we have so far.
“Everyone is gunning for a Grand Final and so everyone, both the players and fans, know that it’s going to be a different occasion.
“There’s no second chance and that’s a big motivation, you want to get to Old Trafford.
“We’ve got a lot to play for, both teams want a Grand Final and we want to win this match. It’s not for points anymore, everyone will have different tricks up their sleeves.”
The Betfred Super League Grand Final is the biggest night in Super League and takes place at Old Trafford, the iconic home of Manchester United on Saturday 12 October (6pm KO). Secure your seat by visiting https://www.superleague.co.uk/tickets/grand-final