HE admits he was spoilt by success at Wigan and now Abergavenny’s Gil Dudson is simply happy to be enjoying his rugby again.

The 29-year-old Wales international was in the Warriors team who completed the Challenge Cup and Grand Final double in 2013 but was facing an uncertain future at the end of last season when his Widnes team were relegated from Super League.

Dudson was thrown a lifeline by Salford coach Ian Watson and 12 months on finds himself just 80 minutes away from picking up another Super League ring.

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As he prepares to face St Helens at Old Trafford on Saturday, the giant front rower is having to pinch himself.

"I was at a crossroads when last year ended with relegation, wondering where my career was going, and to be in a Grand Final 12 months later with Salford is absolutely unbelievable," said Dudson, who started playing league at 14 and represented Torfaen Tigers and Newport Titans.

"I had a terrible year last year. I only played a handful of games, had two surgeries and then another injury in the middle eights.

"My goal this year was just to get fit and just get back to enjoying rugby again. To get to the Grand Final is beyond my wildest dreams.

"I was a bit naive when I was at Wigan, I kind of thought every year I'd be at a Grand Final. You take it for granted, I definitely was spoilt and I had a rude awakening when I left."

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Dudson, who played union for New Panteg and Pontypool United Youth to earn selection for the Dragons Under-18s, is in good company at the Red Devils.

Watson has moulded a team of so-called Championship players and cast-offs with a smattering of quality and turned them into potential champions, all on the second lowest budget in Super League.

"I was a bit disillusioned with the game when we got relegated last year," Dudson added. "I didn't know where my career was going.

"But Watto reached out to me, saying, 'we can get you back to where you were if not even further on'.

"I had belief in him. He gives you the confidence to just go out there and play your game and he makes the game really simple.

"Personally this is probably the best rugby I've ever played and I'd put that down to the staff at Salford. I'm probably the fittest that I've ever been so I owe a lot to Greg Brown the conditioner."

At the start of the season, the Red Devils were expected to be involved in a relegation dogfight rather than a battle for the title but Dudson insists their success has come as no surprise to the players.

"We knew the quality that was in the group, internally," he said. "We knew if we could keep everybody on the field, relegation wasn't going to be an issue.

"It just was a case of how far we could push ourselves. We had some teething problems early doors but, as the season went on, we built that belief.

"It's anyone's game now. We haven't beaten Saints this year but we hadn't beaten Wigan and, if there's a time to get that first win against them, it will be this weekend."