YOUNG scrum half Lewis Dodd’s development took a few further steps up the ladder last week when coming off the bench in the last quarter, first at dummy half and then at full back.

Saints boss Kristian Woolf has handed the 19-year-old former Halton Hornets half back that specific bench role of spelling James Roby this past two weeks after young rake Aaron Smith picked up a head knock.

It allows Saints to kill two birds with one stone; providing cover for their veteran skipper at nine while at the same time helping young talent gain valuable Super League experience.

Illustrating the strength in depth at the club are the number of quality candidates putting their hands up for that number 14 role.

A whole lot of things go into it.

Woolf said: “A few things go into that role. At the start of the year we had Aaron Smith as an out-and-out hooker swapping for Robes, speeding the game up and being used to that role.

“What we don’t want to do is wear Robes out early in the year by asking him to play 70 plus minutes every week.”

Smith suffered a head knock in the second game, allowing Dodd to take his senior appearances up to five - a key part of Woolf’s strategy.

“We need to blood young guys and get them experience.

“The great thing about players like Lewis Dodd is that we know we can put him out at nine.

“If it is a tight game and you don’t want to unsettle your halves, he needs to have the ability to jump in at nine,” he said.

Dodd was alert to Agnatius Paasi’s offload last week, zipping through to set up Saints’ last score.

“We are trying to make sure are feeding Doddy into the halves at different times,” Woolf said.

St Helens Star:

“Last week he got 10 minutes at 1 and that is really good for his understanding. So when he does go into the halves he knows where he wants his 1 to be and what he wants from his nine.

“I see that as a big part of his development.

“That will change at times — at some stage Aaron Smith will get another opportunity there.

"Then there is the emergence of guys like Jake Wingfield – a very versatile player who can play in the middle, edge back row and actually play nine and in the halves as a junior.

"He is a guy who can fill that role as well.

"It is week-to-week, depending on what is coming up."