Tony Clubb candidly admits he was “a bit stupid” to play on with a dead kidney.
The prop’s try-scoring return to action on Sunday was one of the individual highlights of the 28-12 victory against Widnes.
He had missed the last 13 games following surgery to remove the kidney.
The 30-year-old, who missed the back-half of last season with a serious neck injury, was told before the season started the organ was dead.
But he battled on because he didn’t want to miss out on the World Club Challenge against Cronulla in February, and played his part in the stunning 22-6 victory.
He continued to play on before succumbing to the pain in April, and decided to undergo an operation to remove the kidney.
Clubb said: “In pre-season, I was getting back-aches, so I missed the friendlies because it was when I was having the scans.
“What had happened, the kidney was dead. It had gone.
“They said, ‘You can carry on playing with it in you, the only thing is you can’t take on a lot of fluid.’
“I couldn’t drink what I wanted to.
“And me being a bit naive and a bit stupid, I said I’ll have a crack at it.
“Because I’d been out for a long time with my neck, I didn’t want to miss another big chunk and to be honest with you, I wanted to play in the Cronulla game.
“I was probably just a bit stupid, thinking I could carry on.
“After the Cas’ game I got rushed to hospital, the pain was too much, and I saw the surgeon and we had it out – he told me it’d be eight weeks.” The problem was not related to a rugby league injury.
Widnes coach Denis Betts questioned the validity of Clubb’s try, minutes after coming off the bench midway through the opening half.
“We’ll agree to disagree, I thought it was on the line, he gave it and I’ll take it,” said Clubb.
“I was made up to get out there again. I was nervous during the week, I was told Monday I’d play. But when I got up in the morning, I was really excited, and when I got in the changing room, it felt like I’d never been away.”
Clubb thanked supporters for their encouragement during his lay-off.
“The Wigan fans were great, but I got loads of messages and letters from Warrington, Leeds, Widnes, all over the league. I can’t thank them all enough,” he said.
“It was nice. One week they hate you, the other they’re wishing you well – and that’s how special the sport is.”