Dodds starts again with 'French' leg
He was hospitalised in a foreign land with virtually no ability to communicate but Broncos prop Mitchell Dodds is confident his best football is ahead of him after a disastrous one-year stint in the English Super League.
Reluctantly accepting the offer to join the Warrington Wolves when the Broncos told him there would be no place for him in their squad in 2016, Dodds played just two top grade games before suffering a nasty broken left leg whilst playing against Catalans in France.
The extent of the injury was such that it was deemed too risky for the now 27-year-old to fly back with the rest of the Wolves squad so he and club physiotherapist Ben Stirling spent four days in a France hospital as his leg was pieced back together.
There were language difficulties, high-class hospital food – "It was better than the food I was cooking at home!" – and in the end a successful surgery Dodds is confident will put him into position to be part of Brisbane's 17 for Round 1 against the Sharks.
Since pre-season began the Brisbane medical team has been working with Dodds on ensuring the length of his stride hasn't been affected by the break as he builds his workload ahead of an NRL return.
"The surgery was done really well and the bones butted up quite well," Dodds told NRL.com.
"It's more polishing it up now and getting the right stride-rate with how my stride's going.
"Luke Anning (Broncos physiotherapist) is quite pedantic on that and watches that quite closely. Hopefully I might be able to become a little quicker anyway, see how we go."
Thankfully for Dodds, when he did finally arrive back in Warrington his partner Kelsey was there waiting for him having only flown over from Australia the week prior.
It made being busted on the other side of the world much more bearable and infinitely more manageable and provided the impetus to return home and re-sign with the Broncos.
Dodds and his management were in discussions with Warrington and other Super League clubs to potentially extend his stay in England but he said once the call came from Brisbane with an offer his decision was simple.
"I didn't know how I was going to go over there so I couldn't really plan it from the start," said Dodds.
"I always wanted to come back – I didn't really want to leave anyway – but jumped at the chance when I got the opportunity to come home.
"We were in discussions and having a chat with Warrington for a while and a couple of other Super League clubs but I got the call [from the Broncos] and I was happy to come home. Especially when I'd been injured for the year and you need that family network around you and that kind of support.
"This is the first time I went out of Brisbane and lived away so you appreciate your family network and what kind of country we live in and how much freedom we have."
Despite the difficult nature of the season he endured and being unable to contribute on the field to Warrington's charge to the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley, Dodds hasn't closed the door on having another stint in the Super League if an opportunity arose in future.
"Probably in different circumstances, yeah," Dodds said when asked whether he would play in the Super League again.
"If I didn't break my leg and played the whole year it's a completely different story but there are always different circumstances like that.
"It's a different game over there too. I learnt a lot of things personally for myself and how I like to do things around the place."