GRAND Final debutant Lewis Dodd paid tribute to the man whose boots he stepped into at scrum half after Saints completed a hat-trick of Super League titles.

The 19-year-old Widnesian has more than stepped up to the plate since replacing Theo Fages, who broke his shoulder at Wembley.

Dodd, with a full range of skills, has shown more than enough since July to prove Saints did not need to look elsewhere to fill the number seven berth vacated by the departure of the popular Frenchman.

Dodd said: "My chance as a half-back came in a way no one, including myself, wanted it to come, Theo being out for the season.

"He's a great player for this club but also a great bloke but that's the nature of sport.

"I thought I had to do him justice for how good he's been for this club so I did it for him tonight because he's been so good for me as a young kid."

Dodd is still taking on board how huge club's latest title success is, especially on the back of the Challenge Cup in July, plus the previous two Grand Final successes.

"You can talk all week about trying to keep it as normal as possible but with games like this you can't because you know how much it means to the club and to the town," he said.

"The game was a lot faster and more intense and, with the crowd, I've never experienced anything like it and might never get the chance to experience anything like it again.

"It just showed that, when it gets tough, we get tougher, and I can't thank and praise the lads enough."

Prior to Covid, Saints would have been lining up NRL champions Penrith Panthers in the World Club Challenge.

Although it is a game coach Kristian Woolf would like to see - it would be difficult to slot in given Covid restrictions and a condensed league programme due to it being a World Cup year.

However, Dodd has experienced playing the Panthers with the Saints Academy tour Down Under in 2019.

He would relish the opportunity to take on Nathan Cleary and company.

"That would be one we'll want, to test yourself against the best, the best players and the best club," he said.

"I just think it would be a good game for the game in general so hopefully we can get it on.

"I was 17 when we had just won our Grand Final and I was lucky enough to get on a plane straight to Australia.

"It was an incredible experience. You are with your mates for four weeks and you learn to grow up.

"We played four games and got a chance to test ourselves against the best in Penrith. It changed me massively."