‘A lot of pressure’ - St Helens boss has word of warning for rising star
There is no substitute for experience and that’s why Saints’ boss Paul Wellens is the ideal person to pass on his knowledge and awareness, as well as pitfalls, which exist at top level Rugby League.
Like Wellens, who burst on to the Super League scene 25 year ago in a blaze of early glory, half back Lewis Dodd seems to be travelling the same path and hopefully will achieve similar results.
Doddy started the year collecting one of the biggest prizes in the sport - the World Club Challenge at the expense of Penrith Panthers - but until recently hadn’t been able to stamp his authority on games this season.
Now a welcome return to his best form has coincided with Saints’ four-match winning streak and no one is more delighted than his head coach - both having made their first team debuts at 18.
Wellens said: "Lewis is a young half-back who has come into the team and done really well. Everybody goes around telling him how good he is, but you don’t go through your whole career and have it your own way all the time.
“Obviously he had a wonderful moment down in Australia (in the World Club Challenge), when dropping a match-clinching golden goal. On the back of that comes a lot of pressure, but what I love about Lewis is that he just comes in every day, works hard at his game, and he doesn’t look to finger point, or portion blame anywhere else.
“He always backs his game and backs himself. We support him and I back him 100% as a coach because his quality is there for all to see.”
He has previously been linked with a move to the NRL, signing with a leading agent from Australia’s elite division, but the defending Betfred Super League title holders will no doubt fight tooth-and-nail to hold on to one of their prize assets as long as possible.