Dudson will be reborn in the USA

Wigan's Gil Dudson
Wigan's Gil Dudson

GIL Dudson has more reason than anyone to look forward to tomorrow’s trip to Florida – having missed out 12 months ago.

The Welsh prop stayed behind for family reason as the senior squad jetted away for a warm-weather training camp.

Instead, he trained with junior players at their Orrell gym ... as team-mates kept him up-to-date of their progress with a constant stream of picture messages!

Dudson said: “It was a bit of a nightmare last year.

“I kept getting pictures through of them in the Florida sun, and I looked out the window and our pitch was covered in snow one day, so it’s great to be going this time!

“I think not going last year set me back a bit in terms of my preparation for the season, so I’m glad to be getting away with the boys.

“We’re going there to train hard and get ready for next season, and it’s been something the boys have all been looking forward to.

“It’s an important part of our pre-season, because when we get back it’ll nearly be Christmas, then a couple of weeks after that we’re into the trial matches.”

The 22-year-old returned to pre-season training two weeks ago, having been given an extended break following his involvement with Wales in the autumn international series.

And he feels a lot fitter than he did when he first arrived following Crusaders’ Super League demise.

“I came in last year overweight – I think everyone could see that,” he said.

“I had too much time off at the end of the Four Nations and partied a bit too much.

“But I dropped some weight, the coaches got me into good shape and now I’m ready to kick on, and try and compete for a regular spot.”

Dudson figured just 10 times for the first-team last season, a strong run of form mid-season interupted by a nasty leg injury suffered against Catalan in Montpellier which sidelined him for several months.

He said: “I felt I was playing well until I got injured. It was gutting because the team was doing well and to be out for three-months.”