Wigan star Joe Greenwood said he would never have imagined this year would have resulted in a Grand Final appearance and an England call-up.
At the start of the year, the 25-year-old was told by Gold Coast Titans coach Garth Brennan that he wasn’t in his plans for the season, despite making 22 appearances in 2017.
Greenwood joined Wigan on a three-and-a-half-year deal in June and impressive performances for the Warriors have seen him called up to Wayne Bennett’s England squad for the autumn internationals against France and New Zealand.
But the former Saddleworth Rangers junior admitted that moving to Wigan was one of the best decisions he has made.
He told loverugbyleague.com: “I came here at the beginning of July, so I’ve been here around three months and I’ve settled in really well.
“The players and coaches welcomed me with open arms. They’ve found my confidence in the way I play and I’m loving every minute of it here. Waney (Shaun Wane) gave me that confidence as he had the belief in me and hopefully that is showing on the pitch.
“It has been a rollercoaster year and a massive reality check. I went to the NRL in 2017 and then I wasn’t wanted by the coach because he didn’t like the way I play and I got a reality check.
“When Wigan came in it was something I couldn’t turn down because of the history of the club, so to do the media duties at Grand Final week is just insane and I have to pinch myself because I also got the call-up for England, so it has been a mad year and one that has been full of mixed emotions.”
Greenwood is hoping to win his first ever Grand Final on Saturday as Wigan face neighbours Warrington Wolves at Old Trafford, 6pm kick-off.
It would mean the world to Greenwood to lift his first ever major trophy, but he wants to win even more for Wigan’s departing personnel.
He added: “I was 18th man for St Helens in 2014, so just to win it would be insane.
“We want to send the coach (Shaun Wane) out and the players and the people who are leaving on a high and we want to do it for the fans as well.
“Words can’t describe how big this week is. You know it is one of the biggest games of your life and the preparation is towards getting one of the biggest trophies in the game and you want to be winning that.
“Waney would not even have to come into training because everyone has got their head screwed on this week. We are focused on one thing and that is lifting the trophy after the 80 minutes on Saturday.”