Lewis Dodd injury update as Paul Wellens discusses ‘honest conversations’ with St Helens stars

Aaron Bower
Ryan Brierley

St Helens are confident scrum-half Lewis Dodd will be available for next week’s Super League game against Hull KR after being left out of their squad for Thursday’s clash with Huddersfield Giants.

Dodd missed last week’s victory against Hull FC due to injury, despite being named in the 21-man squad for that game. He has been left out altogether this week for Thursday night’s game against the Giants, with Paul Wellens admitting the half-back has been playing injured for a number of weeks.

And Wellens insisted that he is not prepared to risk Dodd’s long-term health – but played down any fear of the half-back being out for a prolonged period despite struggling with injuries to his groin and rib.

“He’s been playing with an injury,” he said.

“It’s something that’s been grumbling on for a while, it’s got worse, then it’s got better, and it’s got to the point where I had a conversation with him to say we can’t keep going through him being healthy one week, and injured the next.

“To be fair to Lewis, he’s more than prepared to put his hand up to play but I took that decision out of his hands last week, and again this week.

“If we keep playing him at 50 per cent, 75 per cent or 80 per cent, it’s not going to be beneficial for us and most importantly for Lewis himself. He’ll sit out this week but we’re confident this week is all he needs to be fit the following week.”

When asked about the injury that had been troubling Dodd, Wellens revealed: “He’s had a bit of a groin or adductor problem, that triggered at Leeds earlier in the season. For someone who kicks the ball a lot, that’s difficult. He’s also had a bit of a rib injury, the oblique, which he’s been carrying. As we did with Daryl Clark last week, we looked after him.”

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The commanding victory against Hull FC last week was a strong response to a Challenge Cup exit at the hands of Warrington that left many Saints supporters disappointed.

And Wellens conceded he had to have “honest conversations” with a number of players about their performances, but is confident they are still on the track to success.

“One thing I learned from my first year as a head coach is when you’re living the highs, don’t get too high and don’t get too low when it’s low,” he said.

“I was extremely disappointed because what the fans saw was a team in a cup tie unrecognisable to a St Helens team they’ve watched in recent years. I expect the supporters to be upset.

“What everyone needs to understand is this group cares about results and care about standards and when they drop, we’ve had honest conversations as a group. I’ve had honest conversations with certain individuals and off the back of that we move forward together – and by that I mean everyone.”

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