St Helens star Lewis Dodd says he feels like the “luckiest lad in the world” as he prepares to play in his first Good Friday derby against rivals Wigan.
The 20-year-old has enjoyed a meteoric rise to Super League stardom, having only made his first team debut in a 42-0 win over Wigan in 2020.
Dodd, who grew up a Widnes fan, has accomplished a lot in his senior career despite only making 33 first team appearances.
The St Helens academy product helped the Saints win the Super League Grand Final at just 19 years of age last year. He was then awarded the iconic number seven jersey ahead of this season.
Has the realisation that he is a regular at the back-to-back-to-back champions sunk in yet?
“In my head I still think I’m a young lad and when Woolfy tells us the team at the start of the week I still look for my name to see if I’m there,” a humble Dodd told Love Rugby League.
“It is a bit weird, some people say I’m a first-teamer but I’m the luckiest lad in the world getting to run out there every week. It is unbelievable.
“I’m just trying to get that consistency in my rugby and doing my job to the best of my ability. This town and this team deserves silverware and trophies. I know I’ve got to be at my best every week for that to happen so I just try to focus on that.”
Good Friday debut
Good Friday will mark the first time the derby between St Helens and Wigan has been played since 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Dodd was just 17 when the last Good Friday derby took place. And he is relishing the chance to play in front of a sold-out crowd this week.
Is derby week different to a normal week?
“Even if you aren’t a local lad or have come through the system, you know,” Dodd said.
“There’s more atmosphere around it and more media, there’s more intensity around it.
“Everything seems to lift. It is great to be a part of it because those are the games you want week in, week out.”
England aspirations for Lewis Dodd
Dodd’s impressive performances for league leaders St Helens saw him called-up to Shaun Wane’s England squad as they ramp up their preparations for the World Cup.
The former Halton Farnworth Hornets junior has represented England at Academy level. But to make his senior debut would be a dream come true.
“For me personally, there is no higher honour than to play for your country,” Dodd said.
“When Shaun invited me down with the training squad, it was a very special moment for me. I’m just a young lad and I get to do what I love on the weekend which is playing rugby. You don’t really think about any accolades but to get the call was a shock but I’m very happy with it.”