TEENAGE FORWARD Mikolaj Oledzki is hoping his loan spell at Bradford Bulls will help him create some Super League history.
The 18-year-old England academy prop is in contention to make his first-team debut for Bradford in their Kingstone Press Championship season-opener at Hull KR on Sunday after signing a month-long loan deal, alongside club-mates Jordan Lilley, Sam Hallas and Josh Jordan-Roberts.
And Oledzki, who played in three of Rhinos’ five pre-season matches, hopes the experience will boost his chances of a breakthrough into Rhinos’ senior side.
If that happens, Oledzki, who is originally from Gdansk, would become the first Polish-born player to appear in Super League.
Handed the No 28 jersey, the former Hunslet Warriors junior is the only player in Leeds’ full-time squad without a senior appearance to his name, but knows he is playing catch-up with his team-mates and insisted he is prepared to bide his time.
“It is hard for a young player to push through, especially at a club like Leeds Rhinos because there’s so many world-class players and players who have played the game most of their life,” Oledzki pointed out.
“But that is what I am striving to achieve. To get a [first-team] game under my belt would be a dream come true.
“My plan is to keep working hard and, hopefully, the rewards will come.”
Oledzki does not have the grounding in the game enjoyed by most players before they join a professional club, but at 6ft 3ins and 16st 7lbs he boasts the necessary physical attributes and has quickly made some big strides.
“I used to be a swimmer,” he recalled.
“But I used to go to school with a lot of rugby players, who played for East Leeds.
“They were all into sport. They asked me if I was playing any sport and I said no, I’ve loads of free time, so they said come down and try rugby league with us and if you like it you can keep playing it.
“So I came down and after the first session I loved it.
“Since then I have been playing rugby every day, nearly.”
Oledzki, who has been living in this country since 2009, was a member of the England under-19s squad which toured Australia last year.
“It happened really fast,” he said of his international call-up.
“I didn’t expect to achieve that much in a short period of time, but making the Australia tour with England academy was a big achievement for me and an amazing experience.
“That was something I had as a target and now having achieved that my next target is to make my Super League debut.
“Hopefully I will make that happen this year.”
Oledzki said he has learned every day in training under former Test props Adrian Morley – Rhinos’ new academy boss – and head coach Brian McDermott and alongside Leeds’ senior players.
“You pick up stuff all the time,” he said.
“They help you out, the older players and if you do something wrong they will make it right. By spending time with them you start doing things the way they do it, so it is really good.”