Analysing 6 possible options to replace Lewis Dodd at St Helens including Super League, NRL

Aaron Bower

St Helens could be about to embark on a major half-back hunt, following reports Lewis Dodd is bound for NRL side South Sydney Rabbitohs in 2025.

Despite the Saints making Dodd an offer to remain at the club beyond this year, he appears to have settled on a new start in Australia with the Bunnies – meaning that the club will be on the lookout for a new half-back partner for Jonny Lomax next year.

There are options on both sides of the world – and some internal solutions the club will no doubt ponder over, too. Here’s a rundown of what could happen, and who could inherit the number seven shirt at the Saints in 2025.

Super League: Jordan Abdull

Jordan Abdull
Jordan Abdull in action for Hull KR in 2023 – Alamy

In truth, the off-contract options for the Saints when it comes to players in Super League are somewhat thin on the ground – at least in terms of the quality Paul Wellens’ side will be aiming for.

But one option does stand out: even if his contract with his parent club isn’t up. Jordan Abdull doesn’t appear to have a future at Hull KR, with Tyrone May and Mikey Lewis firmly locked in as Willie Peters’ first-choice duo. Abdull’s loan deal at Catalans expires this year, and it is unclear what happens next.

With a devastating kicking game and still only 28 years of age, Abdull arguably fits the calibre of player the Saints would be interested in..

NRL: Brandon Wakeham

Brandon Wakeham Fiji Alamy

The Fiji international has made no secret of his openness about a move to Super League in the past, commenting during his time in England for the 2022 Rugby League World Cup that he wouldn’t rule a move out.

Still only 25, Wakeham is playing in the New South Wales Cup this year for Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles. Having made 15 appearances for Wests last year, there are potential visa implications – but Wakeham is a player that would surely interest numerous top-flight clubs if he were on the market.

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NRL: Dean Hawkins

With Dodd heading to the Bunnies in 2025, the likes of Lachlan Ilias and Hawkins are set to be the ones who get nudged out, you suspect.

Ilias is likely to command interest from NRL clubs and remain Down Under, but Hawkins’ agent has already acknowledged this year that there is very real, and very live, Super League interest in the half-back. Could he be on the Saints’ radar in what would effectively be a straight swap for Dodd?

NRL: Jake Clifford

Jake Clifford Hull FC Alamy

Still yet to feature for North Queensland Cowboys in 2024 since returning to the NRL, Clifford is a player with undoubted quality – as anyone who watched Super League last year will know all too well.

Clifford stood out as a real shining light in a disappointing Hull FC side, and his return to Australia didn’t really come as a surprise in that regard. But if he struggles to get regular game-time in Australia this year, could a move back to Super League appeal? And if so, would the Saints be interested?

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Internal: Jack Welsby

Jack Welsby
Jack Welsby celebrates a try for St Helens in 2024

As well as potential players on the market on both sides of the world, the Saints have options internally, too. One of which is moving their best player out of fullback and into the halves.

Welsby has plenty of experience playing half-back, and even played there for England during a home World Cup. The natural plan would be to move Welsby to 7 alongside Lomax, and allow Jon Bennison a potential run at fullback, his preferred position.

And in truth, the Saints really only need a short-term stop-gap for the next year or two, because they have a highly-rated asset emerging through the ranks..

Internal: George Whitby

Now, 2025 may come a year too soon for George Whitby – who is an extremely highly-rated half-back emerging through the St Helens academy.

He is a second-year product, meaning he could yet spend next year still playing academy rugby. However, he has played reserve grade on several occasions already this season, and was even named in a Saints squad for a pre-season friendly for the first-team.

With Welsby always capable of slotting in at half-back, as well as Moses Mbye, could 2025 be the year Whitby gets a softer introduction to first-team rugby ahead of a long-term plan to entrust him with a starting shirt?

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