Somewhere in a Melbourne hotel room Danny Buderus looked to the sky and asked for at least one last parting gift.
About 24 hours later his prayers were answered and Buderus' retirement party was delayed for at least another week when Newcastle overcame defending premiers Melbourne at AAMI Park on Saturday night.
He was first introduced to the ''football gods'' by former mentor Warren Ryan.
''Warren Ryan used to talk to me about football gods,'' Buderus said. ''[On Friday] night I did have a little prayer to the football gods. Good things happen to good people and there's lots of good people in our team.''
The smile on Buderus' face is hard to wipe. It's akin to the glow of a rookie about to embark on his first preliminary final because Buderus knows by rights he shouldn't be in this position.
His was banished to the English Super League at the end of 2008 before answering an SOS from coach Wayne Bennett last year.
Now, at 35, he is daring to dream, two wins away from a fairytale comeback having recently become the Knights' most capped player.
''It's exciting,'' Buderus said. ''I don't know what's going to happen around the corner. I go into training sessions thinking it's going to be my last session let alone going onto the big stage and playing this massive final.
''I'm enjoying the ride and feeding off Wayne's energy. He lives for September and we have the right direction under him. The club hasn't been involved for a long time like this.
''I know the fans sussed us out a little bit [last week]. They came on board thinking maybe they could win down there maybe not, now there is a belief in the town. The boys are in for a good week.''
With injuries to Craig Gower and Kurt Gidley, Buderus is being forced to bare more than a person in the twilight of their career should. But his commitment hasn't faded even if his legs are weary.
He played 53 minutes in the two-point win against the Storm, interchanging with the experienced Matt Hilder and declaring he knows his ''limitations''.
Now the Roosters stand in the way of a battle-ready Knights side.
''The pressure is on everyone else,'' Buderus said. ''We are the underdogs.''
Meanwhile, halfback Tyrone Roberts is hopeful he will be fit to play after sending a scare through the Knights' camp when he hobbled with a knee complaint late in the game.
Roberts, who finished the match but left the stadium in a precautionary knee brace, expects to play.
''I am sure that I will be sweet,'' Roberts said. ''I did my PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) a couple of years ago and last time I couldn't even run. ''It looks good.''
Roberts has been one of the many shining lights for Newcastle this year. He was again strong on Saturday night and played a key role in implanting the Knights' tactic of shifting the ball wide on early tackles to get on the outside of a compressed Melbourne defence.
Buderus said Roberts had entrenched himself as the club's No.7. ''Wayne pinpointed that Tyrone would be the halfback for a lot of years to come,'' he said.