Lewis Dodd recovery praised by team-mates and coach as St Helens star flourishes

Drew Darbyshire
Jonny Lomax Lewis Dodd St Helens Alamy

Jonny Lomax (left) and Lewis Dodd (right) in action for St Helens

St Helens captain Jonny Lomax says he is incredibly proud of how his half-back partner Lewis Dodd is now flourishing after overcoming a season-ending Achilles injury in 2022.

Dodd enjoyed a stellar breakthrough season in 2021, playing 21 games that season to help the Saints win the Super League Grand Final. However, his 2022 was cruelly cut short after he suffered a significant injury to his Achilles that saw him miss the entire campaign.

The Widnesian returned from his lengthy spell on the sidelines last year, playing 33 games, including their historic World Club Challenge win over Penrith Panthers in Australia, kicking the match-winning drop goal.

2024 has seen Dodd’s game reach new heights, being a standout performer for Paul Wellens’ side so far, which fills his half-back partner and skipper Lomax with joy.

“He’s been really good,” Lomax told Love Rugby League. “Having been through big injuries myself, I understand sometimes the mental torment that can cause.

“For a young lad to come back from what he did, an Achilles injury, people don’t realise how big that is just to get back on the field. I think that’s something that can get lost.

“Particularly in sport, I think we speak a lot nowadays about mental health.. I’m not saying Lewis has had any of this but I know from myself having big injuries, the mental health impact that had on myself.. Sometimes you see people take to the field, but very often in this game and with the toughness of it, it’s very rare that you are 100 per cent, very rare, so for Lewis to come back and get on the field from an Achilles injury and play as many games as he did last year, is incredible.”

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Jonny Lomax on half-back partner Lewis Dodd: ‘I think he’s done incredibly well’

With Dodd getting a full season under his belt last year, that has seen the 22-year-old grow in confidence and find his best form, according to Lomax.

“Lewis continued to do his job and what we’re seeing now this year is that he is flourishing more and more,” Lomax said in an exclusive interview with Love Rugby League.

“I thought he was really good last year, but I feel what you are seeing now is that he’s a more free, happier, more confident Lewis. I think that’s great for us as a team and dangerous for others, and it’s something I’m incredibly proud of to see him going the way he is because I understand how difficult a big injury can be, particularly for a young lad when all you want to do is play rugby.

“I think he’s done incredibly well. I thought he was incredible last year getting back on the field and doing what he did last year, but I think now what you are seeing is a more free, more confident Lewis. His talent is undoubted, and I think that’s fantastic to see and fantastic for the game.”

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St Helens coach Paul Wellens ‘immensely proud’ to see Lewis Dodd overcome ‘awful’ injury setback

Lewis Dodd St Helens Alamy
Lewis Dodd in action for St Helens

Dodd was just 20 at the time he suffered his significant Achilles injury, which sidelined him for the best part of a year – but Wellens and the club made sure everyone rallied around the rising half-back during his time of need.

“I’m immensely proud of Lewis and how he’s overcome that awful setback that he had when he had his injury, but also how he’s dealt with everything in the 18 months since then has been brilliant,” Wellens told Love Rugby League.

“What we always try to do as a club is give the players a support network, whether that be the players supporting the players, the coaches supporting the players, we have a wonderful player welfare manager in Paul Johnson who provides great support as well, but we believe in helping each other and supporting each other.

“We feel we have given Lewis some great support there but ultimately there are things he has to go through himself, so I think the way he has handled returning from injury has been brilliant.

“What people forget about Lewis is that he is still only a young man learning the game in a really pivotal position, so to be doing what he’s doing on the back of what he has gone through is outstanding.”

Dodd could return from a minor groin injury in Saints’ derby against Wigan Warriors on Good Friday in front of a sold-out Totally Wicked Stadium.

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