US News: Salford’s trio of misfits set to complete remarkable journey to Grand Final - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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US News Salford’s trio of misfits set to complete remarkable journey to Grand Final

18:00  10 october  2019
18:00  10 october  2019 Source:   msn.com

Salford’s trio of misfits set to complete remarkable journey to Grand Final

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Gil Dudson, Krisnan Inu and Greg Burke will all be in the Salford Grand Final side, one year on from being involved with the Widnes squad who were relegated.

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Krisnan Inu playing a game of football: Krisnan Inu celebrates Salford’s win over Wigan Warriors in the play-off semi-final. © BPI/REX/Shutterstock Krisnan Inu celebrates Salford’s win over Wigan Warriors in the play-off semi-final.

The sight of Salford walking out in the Super League Grand Final on Saturday evening will be barely believable for many of their supporters: but for three of their players in particular, it almost defies sporting logic. “If someone had said this would happen 12 months ago, I don’t know whether I’d have laughed or cried,” explains Gil Dudson, the Salford prop who has been pivotal in their run to a first Grand Final appearance.

Dudson, Krisnan Inu and Greg Burke will all be in the Salford side on Saturday when they aim to secure a first title in 43 years, just one year on from being involved with the Widnes squad who were relegated from Super League with a whimper. There are personal tales of redemption throughout this Red Devils side, but few are as remarkable as this trio’s journey to the biggest game of the year.

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“I’ll be honest, I thought coming from Widnes to Salford, it would have been much the same – another battle at the bottom,” smiles Burke, a former Wigan junior who will play in his first Grand Final on Saturday. Burke left a Widnes side in free-fall shortly before their relegation was confirmed last year: but for Dudson and Inu, who were there until the end of the season, the story is much different.

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While Burke had already secured a contract for this year with Salford, Dudson and Inu’s deals with Widnes for 2019 were automatically terminated upon relegation. “I genuinely thought nobody would take a punt on me at one stage after that,” Dudson says. “You doubt yourself and whether you’re good enough and realise if you do eventually get a deal, it’s going to be your last chance.”

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Josh Jones hopes to help Salford to Grand Final glory on the the eve of his wedding - but may Play in the Super League Grand Final one day, get married the next and then wait for a phone call which How Salford ' s 'bunch of misfits ' reached Old Trafford. LISTEN: BBC 5 Live Rugby League Podcast

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Inu actually renegotiated a deal with Widnes but was then released when the club entered administration. As this season kicked off, the New Zealander was unemployed. “It was a very hard time,” he says. “You begin to wonder if anything is going to come up. It was on my mind every day and like Gil says, when you sign here, you wonder if it’s your last chance. A Grand Final is the last thing on your mind.”

Fast forward a few months, and all three are preparing for perhaps the biggest game of their careers this weekend, as Salford face St Helens at Old Trafford. Dudson and Inu have both played in Grand Finals before – Dudson for Wigan, Inu on three occasions in the NRL – but the circumstances surrounding this make it unlike any other they have experienced before.

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The trio epitomise the “misfits” tag many have attributed to this Salford side; tipped by some experts to be relegated this year, they are now one game away from completing the most remarkable fairytale in rugby league’s recent history. “Misfits is a fair tag, we’re a proper rag-tag bunch,” Dudson laughs. “This squad are all here because of injuries, relegations or being released by so-called bigger teams. What we’ve done is incredible.”

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“Ian Watson [the Salford coach] has seen something in us all nobody else did,” Inu says. “When you’re sat at home wondering if the call will come, to be a part of this now just a few months later is incredible, really.” The dark days of potential unemployment now seem a million miles away and Dudson is not afraid to admit he had contemplated the end of his career following relegation.

“Last year I had two big surgeries, and I don’t think I managed 10 games,” he says. “You’re sat on the sidelines wondering what the hell is happening, and when the team are losing every week it’s easy to get into a dark place. When relegation is confirmed and your contract gets ripped up you’re in a panic thinking: is this me done? Can I offer someone something? But look at where we are now. It’s a story of never giving up and always believing, I guess.”

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