Wigan forward Joe Greenwood is thrilled with his roller-coaster ride in 2018 and hopes it can go on for another month.
The 25-year-old began the year hoping to help Gold Coast Titans reach the NRL Grand Final but will instead run out against Warrington at Old Trafford on Saturday in the climax to the Super League season.
The former St Helens second-rower, who was in his second season with the Titans, fell out of favour with new coach Garth Brennan and, after languishing in the club’s feeder team, was thrown a career lifeline by the Warriors in mid-season.
Greenwood, who signed a three-and-a-half-year deal essentially as a replacement for the departing John Bateman, has not looked back since.
— Wigan Warriors 🍒⚪️ (@WiganWarriorsRL) October 2, 2018
He played in 10 of Wigan’s last 13 games, culminating in a first 100 per cent record in the Super 8s that has taken them all the way to Old Trafford, and earned a first England call, both of which have eased the painful memory of those trying times in Australia.
“It seems a long time ago now,” said Greenwood, who was on the verge of an England call-up when he opted to leave St Helens at the end of the 2016 season.
“When you look back at it, words can’t describe the emotions of what’s happened to me. It’s been a roller-coaster ride this season.
“In my first year at the Titans I played 24 games and (coach) Neil Henry put so much work into me which I appreciated.
“But then he left and the new coach came in and he didn’t like the way I played.
“So I had to be sidelined and play for the feeder club and I thought ‘It’s not me, this’.
“As a young player, you want to strive to win things. It’s a short career – you’ve got, what, 10 or 15 years – and you want to show your kids what you’ve done in your career.
“So when Wigan came in, it was a no-brainer with the history of the club and the calibre of player they’ve got.
“And I’m loving every minute here. We’ve had some great wins, made history in the Super 8s and now we’re at Old Trafford, you have to pinch yourself sometimes.”
Oldham-born Greenwood, whose older brother James came through the Wigan academy before moving to Hull KR, was 18th man when Saints beat Wigan in the 2014 Grand Final but he will be in the thick of the action at Old Trafford on Saturday.
And he is hoping his season does not end there after being promoted from the England Knights to Wayne Bennett’s senior squad for the Test series against New Zealand starting on October 27.
“I’m taking a little step at a time,” he said. “I was really emotional when I got the call from (England manager) Jamie Peacock.
“I was surprised I got in the England Knights to be honest and, when Jamie rang to say I’d been promoted into the senior squad, I was speechless, this season really has been a roller-coaster ride.”