NRL doubts raised over Lewis Dodd as gun half emerges as saviour for struggling Souths

Dodd's impending move to the Rabbitohs does not come without massive risk.

Impending South Sydney signing Lewis Dodd is either the answer to the Rabbitohs' prayers or a huge risk who will do little to spark the second worst attack in the NRL. They’re the vastly differing views of two former England internationals - James Graham and Paul Sculthorpe - as the Bunnies prepare to gamble by signing the St Helens halfback for at least the next three seasons.

Souths football manager Mark Ellison is in the UK this week to secure Dodd's signature after the No.7 informed Saints he would be moving on in 2025. The Bunnies' disastrous start to the 2024 season – they've won just one game and sit on the bottom of the table – has has ended Jason Demetriou's stint as coach and resulted in a desperate international search to find a player capable of engineering a revival.

St Helens star Lewis Dodd is set to be brought in at the Rabbitohs in 2025 in a bid to solve the NRL club's halves dilemma. Pic: Getty
St Helens star Lewis Dodd is set to be brought in at the Rabbitohs in 2025 in a bid to solve the NRL club's halves dilemma. Pic: Getty

Dodd kicked the winning field goal to guide Saints to an upset win over Penrith in the World Club Challenge last year and is rated as one of the Super League's brightest talents. Speaking on Triple M last weekend, ex-England skipper and former St Helens, Canterbury and St George Illawarra front-rower James Graham could not have been any more enthusiastic about Dodd's ability.

He said: "Lewis Dodd would be a fantastic addition. This kid is all quality and all class. When I went back over to play with St Helens in 2020, he would have been maybe 18 at the time and the first 13 plays against the reserves (at training) and throw some shade at you and test you defensively... well, this kid was all over us at times and was a real handful.

Pictured left to right, St Helens star Lewis Dodd and Lachlan Ilias.
South Sydney's signing of St Helens star Lewis Dodd has paved the way for the exit of Lachlan Ilias. Pic: Getty

"There was something about I remember thinking 'this kid's going to go places'. He's had an amazing career so far. If he gets it right at South Sydney, he could go down as one of England's greatest (imports)."


But Sculthorpe, who played 339 Super League games for St Helens and Warrington and represented England/Great Britain in 30 Tests, has lowered expectations. Writing in the St Helens Star newspaper after a recent loss, he said: "There has been a lot of questions about the team's attack this year, and personally I haven’t seen enough from the halfback taking control and asking questions of the opposing defence.

"Lewis Dodd has no running game and is playing too far from the defensive line. Too many times players looked lost for ideas of what they should be doing." The coaching landscape will look a lot different at South Sydney by the time Dodd arrives, with Demetriou's exit potentially paving the way for Wayne Bennett's return.