RYAN HUDSON: Determined to hit that milestone before I hang up my boots

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I came really close to missing out for Castleford last night in what was my 299th career game.

There has been a virus going around and at one point there was no way I could play over at Wigan.

I have announced my retirement for the end of the season, and hopefully I can get up to that 300 figure.

It will be emotional come the last game – I have been doing this all my life – but I had made the decision six months ago and it was not taken lightly.

For all I physically feel okay, mentally I am ready for another challenge. There are a few opportunities around, in coaching and also the media, and I hope to announce something soon.

The academy me and Danny Orr set up (www.eliterugbyacademy.com) is really thriving. We are doing three nights a week getting youngsters from four to 12 years old involved in the sport.

We find a lot of amateur clubs are struggling for numbers nowadays but we can look to push these kids towards that – or scholarships – and help strengthen the game.

If we want to go on and beat the Australians, it is all about getting more people playing but we also offer nutritional and mentoring advice, too, and just want to get kids away from their X-Boxes.

Captaining Yorkshire, playing for England and representing Great Britain have been highlights for me. Obviously, the two-year ban I received was the hardest part but I always knew I wanted to come back and show what I could do. I feel I have achieved that and I would not change a thing; it makes me the person I am today.

I set up a gym business with Jamie (Field) while I was suspended and he has just opened another in Boston Spa. I would always urge kids to get a trade, too, as rugby league is a short career. It is, though, one of the best anyone can have.

Obviously, I have made mistakes along the way but had so many good times, too.

Danny announced his own retirement this week. He’s staying on as an assistant at Cas’ and will be a great role model and ambassador for the club; he has all the attributes to be a top coach

There ar a lot of young kids coming through – there always has been at Cas’ – and the challenge is to keep them here long-term and get the right balance.

It has been a poor season for us, let’s be honest, but sometimes there is only one way and that is up.

It will be a fresh start for Basil (Millward) next season as there are a lot of players leaving and retiring. But it will be good for him to get some new faces in and people he wants at the club – good people, too, like Michael Shenton.

Obviously, I started out at Huddersfield Giants, who are currently having their own problems.

I made my debut there when I was 18 and Ken Davy has always invested a lot of money into the club. He has done a great job and I hope it pays off. They have let Nathan Brown go but Paul Anderson has taken over with Kieron Purtill and Chris Thorman will be there, too, next season, who I know from my Giants days.

Wakefield are another one of my old clubs and I had some memorable times there. We had a great side with people like Keith Mason, Gaz Ellis, Tommy Haughey, Chris Feather and ‘Tiger’ Handforth but I have made friends all over the world.

I will, though, look forward to a few weekends with my wife and kids who have offered so much support, along with my parents and sister, throughout my career.

Interview by Dave Craven.