DEWSBURY Rams’ Wayne Godwin admits he has encountered some “dark times” adjusting to life outside of Super League.
The ex-England international will be reminded of his days among the elite when the Championship part-timers host his former club Wigan Warriors in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup tonight.
And Godwin, 32, concedes being told he was no longer wanted was hard to take.
The former Bradford Bulls hooker, who started at Castleford Tigers, was released from Salford at the end of last season and it came as a surprise to many, not least himself, that there were no offers from any other elite clubs.
“I thought I’d at least another year or two,” he said to The Yorkshire Post. “I only missed four or five games last season and gave everything I could to prove I was worth another Salford deal. But a chance didn’t come there or anywhere in Super League.
“I was a bit naive; I didn’t plan as well as I should have and it was a shock. People had a word (about the future) years ago, but I was 22, playing Super League and thinking it’d never happen.
“Ten years on, here we are. It’s definitely a lesson to any young player. I had some dark days. It’s that transition – it’s like coming out of the army and all that routine – which is difficult. But I’ve great family and friends who helped push me through and I’m really enjoying things with Dewsbury. It’ll be great to go up against Wigan and give them a real go.”
Pontefract-born Godwin hopes to eventually get a job as a PE teacher, but is currently using his infectious personality to good effect in a different field.
“I’m working as a personal trainer, doing sports rehab at retirement and care homes,” he explained. “It’s a really rewarding job. I’ve met a lot of lovely people.”
On the field, he knows Dewsbury – who have four wins from six games – face a huge battle against the holders.
“It’s going to be tough but they’re not going to like our tiny changing rooms or small pitch,” he said. “There’s lots of players in this Dewsbury side who could hold their own in Super League and hopefully they’ll show that against Wigan. There’s no pressure on us. It’s all on them.”
Godwin spent two enjoyable seasons there in 2005 and 2006 before joining Hull FC though concedes one of his “worst memories” was with Wigan in the Challenge Cup in an embarrassing 75-0 loss against arch-rivals St Helens – just a week after losing 70-0 versus Leeds Rhinos.
Dewsbury have not beaten Wigan in the Challenge Cup since the turn of the last century, way back in 1900, but are thriving under Godwin’s ex-Bradford team-mate Glenn Morrison.