Leeds Rhinos have turned the corner insists Mikolaj Oledzki

SMILES ARE back on faces and that is the secret behind Leeds Rhinos’ improved performances, prop Mikolaj Oledzki has revealed.

By Peter Smith
Monday, 2nd May 2022, 4:45 am

Rhinos have climbed to ninth in Betfred Super League on the back of successive victories, including a 12-0 defeat of previously in-form Hull KR three days ago.

They are still a long way short of where they hoped – and expected – to be at this stage of the season, but the outlook is much brighter than it was a month ago, Oledzki reckons.

The England front-rower is ever-present this season – when Rhinos have been unable to field a consistent line up from week to week – and feels a corner has been turned.

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Mikolaj Oledzki celebrates Leeds Rhinos' victory over Hull KR. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

Leeds saw off Rovers despite 13 of their first-team squad being unavailable through injury or suspension and new head-coach Rohan Smith will arrive at the club tomorrow.

Oledzki insisted: “We’ve been unlucky with a lot of results this year.

“Some have been self-inflicted, with bad performances, but some we just came up a bit short.

“We have been working towards something bigger and I feel like the last two weeks, we are getting the rewards for the hard work we are putting in.

Morgan Gannon celebrates scoring Leeds Rhinos' second try against Hull KR. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

“It feels really good, very rewarding.”

Oldezki said Rhinos targeted their games between the Challenge Cup quarter- and semi-final breaks.

“During this block we wanted to turn things around and we feel like we have,” he added.

“Rohan’s getting here [this] week and we are at a good place for him to take over and get us to that next level.”

Matt Prior scores Leeds Rhinos' opening try against Hull KR. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

After hefty defeats in the first two of Jamie Jones-Buchanan’s six games as interim-boss, Rhinos won two, drew one and lost the other by two points.

“Jonesy has done a great job,” Oledzki said.

“He is very, very respected in our group, by all the players, with what he has done in his career and as a coach as well.

“When he said ‘boys, I want you to buy into this and we are going to get rewards’, we all trusted him and bought in 110 per cent. The last two weeks we have got the rewards for it.

“He got everyone enjoying playing again and playing for each other, for him, for the badge and the club.

“I feel like we are enjoying ourselves again on the field.

“You create your own momentum and I feel like things are starting to come our way now.

“It’s not by chance, it’s because of the work we have been putting in.

“It has been a good block and we are all excited to kick on now and start the next block.”

Smith will take training for the first time this week, ahead of his debut as coach away to Salford Red Devils in 13 days’ time.

That is a rematch of a fixture in March which Rhinos lost 26-12, bringing Richard Agar’s spell as head coach to an end.

Smith comes highly recommended by sources both in this country and Australia, where he guided Brisbane Broncos’ feeder club Norths Devils to the Queensland Cup title last year.

The 40-year-old has worked with several of Rhinos’ squad in the past and Oledzki said: “I have heard some great things about Rohan.”

He revealed: “He sent me a message the other day and I am really excited for him to get here and to get to know him, sit down with him and work on my game and see where he’d like me to develop.

“It’ll be great to have him here and I can’t wait.”

Smith has been doing his homework and has been in touch with players and staff alike.

Of the message he received from the new head coach, Oledzki said: “I really appreciated it.

“He put that extra effort in to make sure he introduced himself.

“I am really excited to get to know him and get started.”