PAUL Dodds knows what it takes to achieve Central Highlands Football League glory.
As one of the players that helped deliver Waubra its breakthrough premiership in 2006 – snapping a mammoth 24-year drought in the process – Dodds and his Roos backed it up in 2011, when the senior side secured the flag in a famous treble, which included reserves and under-18 grand final triumphs.
Those achievements headline a successful 11-year stint at the club after shifting from the Ballarat Swans in 2004.
Years of loyal service to the Roos has seen Dodds now bestowed the honour of leading the club into battle.
Dodds, 31, took over the captaincy from experienced leader Shaun Mullane at the start of the season, but had to wait until round four to carry out the role in an on-field capacity.
The elusive winger suffered the recurrence of a serious back injury in the week leading up to the opening game.
This cost him the first three matches before a round four return against Learmonth.
“That stuffed all my pre-season and all my fitness, so it has only really been the last five or six weeks that I have got back fully fit,” Dodds, who had previously served as stand-in captain in the absence of Mullane, said.
“I was simply bending down to pick up a ball and a disc popped out.
“I was doing a heap of landscaping work on my backyard the day before. It was just overload.
“I do pilates now and that has really helped. There’s basically no pain at all.”
Since his comeback, Dodds has put together another strong season for the Roos, where he has been named in the team’s best in seven of his 14 appearances.
He has enjoyed wthe captaincy, but says it is a rather easy job given the wealth of experience within the senior group.
“Shaun lives in Melbourne and he couldn’t really get to training so we decided we wanted someone who was Ballarat-based and could pull the reins at training and all that kind of stuff,” Dodds, the sale and operations manager at Country Club Villages, said.
“We have played together for a fair while so it’s not really hard because we have got older blokes there.
“I don’t really have to do too much. Eeveryone sort of motivates themselves pretty good.
“It has been really good this year, actually. There is a lot better feel around the place, just in terms of togetherness with all the players.”
Dodds, the boyfriend of top Dunnstown netballer Johanna Dash, admits this season is nothing like those golden premiership years of the past, believing 2014 is the closest title race during his time in the league.
“It’s definitely a different feel to those two years because we were the favourite,” Dodds said.
“This year, I think everyone is much more focused to try and just win the preliminary final and we are not looking too far ahead because it is so even.
“Anyone can win it.”