Woolf praises his young star

St Helens coach Kristian Woolf says he’s more than happy with the progress of young scrum-half Lewis Dodd.

With Theo Fages out injured, the 19-year-old Academy product teamed up with seasoned stand-off Jonny Lomax to help Woolf’s side claim two Super League wins in six days – 42-10 at Hull and 34-12 at home to Catalans Dragons.

Saturday’s victory over the leaders, in which Dodd scored a try, helped second-placed Saints, who are chasing a hat-trick of titles, close the gap on the French side.

Woolf, now preparing for Thursday’s home meeting with Castleford, said of former Halton Hornets player Dodd: “I am really happy with how he’s coming on. We have terrific confidence in him and you can see why. We just have to make sure we don’t expect great things from every single game.

“He is very instinctive, that is what he brings to the team. He has a terrific step off both feet, terrific ability to be there. He is going to learn his game management. He is a very good defender, but he has to take a bit of ownership of how we put our attack together.”

Meanwhile Fiji captain Kevin Naiqama, scorer of one of Saints’ seven tries against Hull, is to leave the club at the end of the season.

The centre was signed from Wests Tigers on a three-year deal in 2019, having previously played for Newcastle Knights and Penrith Panthers.

The 32-year-old cited difficulties caused by the pandemic, including having to witness the birth of his first child through FaceTime, as the reason for his departure.

Naiqama, who has scored 35 tries for Saints, explained: “Woolfie and my team-mates have all been great with me and I couldn’t have wished to spend my time here with a better group of players.”

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