WHEN Saints skipper James Roby proudly strides out on to Old Trafford on Saturday night for a remarkable 10th Grand Final, walking a few paces behind him will be a player 16 years his junior.

Nineteen-year-old Lewis Dodd, who has slotted seamlessly into the scrum half berth vacated by the injured Theo Fages, has brought with him a toolkit and a confident swagger that shows he really belongs at this level.

As important and valued a member Fages has been in the success of the past three years, Dodd's contribution to the team effort since July has more than softened that blow.

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So while the big focus has understandably been on whether Saints can land the double and complete the three-peat, sending off Lachlan Coote and Kevin Naiqama off with a third ring in as many years, Dodd's story is just another of this game's side bars and sub-stories.

The way the wily Widnesian has taken on his role at senior level has not come as a surprise to those who saw him perform at Academy and reserve grade - even less to those among the playing and coach staff who have seen this prodigious talent develop under their noses at the training ground the last couple of years.

None of them, from coach Kristian Woolf and skipper Roby, to contemporary Jack Welsby, expect the teenager to be remotely fazed by his debut under the Old Trafford lights. 

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Woolf said: "There is no pressure on Lewis Dodd whatsoever.

"Lewis has come into the side gradually – has double figures now at half back and has fitted in seamlessly and done an extremely good job and played in some big games.

"If you have a look at the games he has played at the back end - Hull, Warrington, Wigan, Catalans, Leeds pus the semi final - he has played in some of the biggest games and toughest ones we have had this year.

"And he has held his hand up in each and every one of those.

"There is no pressure on him – he has just got to do exactly what he has been doing.

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"Provided he does that, he is going to do an extremely good job."

That view is echoed by skipper Roby, who has seen Dodd develop on the training paddock since he joined in with the seniors a couple of years ago.

"Lewis Dodd is a fantastic player," Roby said. 

"Every now and then there are certain players that do catch the eye and there’s something about them that is special.

"Doddy is one of those. He has been around us for quite a while, weven though he is such a young lad.

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"I am gutted for Theo, he has been a fantastic player for us for a number of years now and is a great friend of mine.

"But obviously the ruthless nature of the sport means that when one person is out injured it gives an opportunity for someone else and Lewis has taken that opportunity with both hands.

"He has got his own sort of skillset and is very dangerous for a young player and is very confident.

"And similar to Jack Welsby in that he’s got an old head on young shoulders.

"There are not many teams who could transition from a starting scrum to somebody else and carry on as normal."

In the same sense, Dodd is in the same boat as last year's match winner Welsby in the sense that he's another teenage debutant at the sport's grand finale.

Welsby didn't feel there was any need for him to pass on much in the way of advice and guidance apart from "Just to be Lewis".

"I don’t think he needs any advice to be honest, Welsby said.

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"He is probably the most confident player in the team – backs himself and he is proving himself already, even if he has only strung 10 or so games together.

"We have the utmost belief in him – both Woolfy and us in the playing group.

"There's not much can say to him apart from back yourself and be you."

Welsby has played alongside him coming through the ranks - something that may well have helped them gel in the halves in August and early September.

As such Dodd's talents again come as no surprise.

"We knew he would succeed – growing up playing with him he has always been the best player – because he is so natural in everything he does it almost looks effortless.

"He still has improvements in areas, but I can’t see why he can’t go on and have a massive game for us," Welsby said.