Rugby league is child’s play for Saddleworth Rangers veteran

MEN in their 40s are usually kicking back, relaxing when they can and even looking forward to what to do when they retire – not so Gavin Dodd.

For he is still playing rugby league for Saddleworth Rangers at the age of 42.

Anyone who thinks the sport is a young man’s game will have their illusions shattered with a trip to Shaw Hall Bank Road.

Dodd lines up alongside team-mates who are less than half his age in the National Conference League.

Gavin Dodd with Gary Carter from the Saddleworth Independent

“I’ve never really put a target on when I’m going to finish,” said Moorside-based Dodd, who played professionally for Bradford, Oldham, Widnes and Swinton before moving to Saddleworth as a 34-year-old spring chicken.

“Even when I came to Saddleworth, people said, ‘Oh, are you going to do a couple of years?’ My reply was, ‘I don’t know.’

“I still have that same answer now!

“I’ll do a few years yet. I don’t feel achier than I have after a game yet. I’m 42 but I’m not going to say I won’t be doing the same thing in a few years’ time.”

Normally, ageing rugby league players talk about the aches and pains they have after matches.

Tales of stars hardly being able to walk down the stairs for 24 hours after playing are not unknown.

Dodd, however, is not living up to that as the owner of a plumbing and heating company added: “I’m not feeling it ore. To be honest, that’s probably why I’m still playing.

“Lads I knew a few years ago who were my age said, ‘I can’t deal with the acing anymore.’ I’m lucky, I’m don’t really get that.

“I get a few knocks and bruises but I got those when I was 21-years-old, so it’s the same as.”

Lining up alongside the likes of 18-year-old Freddie Wilson may make Dodd feel every day of his 42 years.

He does not, however, it is only others who remind him.

“I don’t actually acknowledge that during training or matches,” he told Saddleworth Independent. “It’s only on the social side that it gets chucked about.

“I was playing at Rochdale Mayfield and they were calling me granddad al game – I get reminded of it by the other teams and their fans every now and then.

“But among the team, though, it makes no difference.”

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