St Helens star Lewis Dodd enjoyed the perfect birthday present on Friday night as he returned from injury to score against Widnes Vikings after months on the sidelines.
Speaking after the game, he underlined how happy he was to get back out on the pitch after a difficult period in his career.
He said on Saints TV:
“I’ve had worse birthdays, it’s just good to be back. It’s good to be running out there with the boys. A good occasion to do it on: Percy’s testimonial.”
Now Dodd and his teammates can look ahead to the World Club Challenge against Penrith Panthers as well as the clash with St George Illawarra Dragons the week before that.
Dodd believes the performance against Widnes has provided them with a good “foundation” ahead of the World Club Challenge:
“What occasion we’ve got there, we have built a nice foundation there. We will get a few boys back for the St George game, I think we’ve built a good platform here.”
Meanwhile, his coach Paul Wellens praised his young halfback after the game for the way he has battled back from injury:
“I paid Doddy huge respect there in the dressing room. I think what a lot of people don’t see is the lonely early mornings, week on week, month on month, particularly coming back from an injury like Doddy has, he’s done it tough but you start to see that twinkle in his eye again and the spring in his step.
“He’s slotted back in quite seamlessly, given his rugby intelligence I expected that and he certainly improves us as a team.”
Sadly, the man of the hour Mark Percival couldn’t feature in his own testimonial but Wellens paid tribute to the centre after the game:
“The turnout is a true reflection of what our supporters think of Mark. He cares about this club so much, he pushed so hard to play.”