Lewis Dodd raring to go as half-back closes in on full fitness

Josh McAllister
Lewis Dodd St Helens SWpix

Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix

Lewis Dodd is closing in on full fitness and expects to get some minutes on the field against Widnes this Friday in Mark Percival’s testimonial.

The half-back has been named in a large squad by head coach Paul Wellens for the fixture at the Totally Wicked Stadium. 

Dodd, 20, suffered an Achilles injury in a derby match against Wigan in April last year and was forced to watch the rest of the season from the sidelines. 

Nine months of hard work, and Dodd looks set to take to the field for the first time since the blow before heading to Australia next month for the World Club Challenge.

Lewis Dodd close to full fitness

Dodd told Love Rugby League: “I’m getting there. It’s hard to get game fitness without really playing games, it’s more just fine tuning now. I’m very happy and the medical team are very happy where I am from the injury.”

Although unsure on how many minutes he’ll get against the Championship side, Dodd is hoping to make his full return Down Under in February.

“Hopefully my first 80 minutes will be against Penrith,” he continued. “It’s a big task, but I’m looking forward to it.

“This game is a massive game on a personal level, an individual level, at club level and for Super League. I’m really thankful to be a part it, especially with the lads we’re going over with. 

“It’s sort of a once of a lifetime opportunity. You speak to James Roby, in his 20th season, and he’s never done anything like this at club level.

“So for the younger boys to be going over, it’s something you can’t take lightly. Going to the other side of the world where everything is different and a bit more challenging. You can’t take it for granted.”

Lewis Dodd on road to recovery

Having received the number seven shirt for the first time in 2022, Dodd impressed at the start of last season before his injury struck, also ruling him out of a potential England call-up under Shaun Wane for the delayed 2021 World Cup.

And while admittedly a tough blow to take at the start, the talented youngster accepted he found a new role off the field with the group and has used the experience as a learning curve for the rest of his career.

“It was definitely difficult to take at the start, especially being so young,” Dodd explained.

“You think you’re invincible. Then for someone to say your season has been cut short just as you feel like you’re starting to get going, it was definitely hard at the start.

“But Woolfy (Kristian Woolf) and Wello (Paul Wellens) and the coaching staff were massive, and the lads. They always made me feel a part of it.

“You think you’re invincible”

“The longer it went on, the more I knew I could impact the group in a different way. I think the lads don’t get the credit they deserve. For someone to lose their half-back at the stage they did and to still go on and have the success they had, that never gets talked about.

“The big one for me this year is to play all year and get through the season. I want to just play, get consistent and play better every week.

“We have a big task at the start of the year and it’s a big challenge. I want to get back into the routine and rhythm and getting into those combinations and enjoying it.

“One thing you definitely learn when you’ve had a long break from the game, you sort of take things for granted. Just the day-to-day routine of being with your mates and doing what you love.

“That’s one thing I’ve tried to nail down since getting back, is not taking anything for granted and enjoying being where I am.” 

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