Leeds Rhinos: Jack Ormondroyd in '˜box seat' for team selection
BIG FORWARD Jack Ormondroyd is hoping to go from strength to strength this year after a first taste of playing on a big stage.
Ormondroyd was one of the substitutes for Leeds Rhinos in last week’s World Club Challenge defeat by Melbourne Storm and is ever-present so far in 2018.
It is the 26-year-old’s second season at Leeds following his move from Featherstone Rovers and the tie at AAMI Park, against the Australian NRL champions, was his debut in a major final.
A late starter in rugby league, Ormondroyd, whose father is former professional footballer Ian Ormondroyd, has less than 100 first-team games under his belt and reckons playing against the world’s best was a priceless experience.
He featured only six times for Rhinos last year – with another 13 on dual-registration at Rovers – and is already halfway to matching that tally this term.
“Even though we lost, it will give me a lot of confidence,” Ormondroyd insisted of the game four days ago.
“It’s only a couple of years ago I was playing for Featherstone reserves so to be able to play in a World Club Challenge is really good for me.
“Being back home now, we know we are probably not going to play anyone as good as Melbourne so that should give me confidence to be able to play week in and week out, hopefully.”
Ormondroyd knows he has work to do to keep his place in the team, despite a strong start to the campaign.
Mitch Garbutt, who has yet to feature this year due to a dead leg, could be available for Sunday’s trip to Widnes Vikings in Betfred Super League round three.
Keith Galloway, Nathaniel Peteru, Anthony Mullally and Mikjolaj Oledzki will also provide competition for front-row places when they recover from injury and another forward, Brett Ferres, is still on the casualty list.
Ormondroyd recalled: “I played the first couple of games at the start of last season and then I picked up a little niggle and didn’t play for a couple of months.
“Hopefully this year I can string a few games together.
“A lot of it’s down to match fitness. You can do as much running as you want at training, but match fitness only comes with playing.
“Hopefully I can get a few games under my belt and keep improving with each game.”
Leeds’ week Down Under, which included three ball-work training sessions. served as a mini-warm weather camp.
Ormondroyd has now had two pre-seasons as a full-time player and reckons he is way ahead of where he was 12 months ago.
“I came in last year from Featherstone and I’d only had one full season there,” he said.
“I dipped my toe into it a bit last year, but this year I feel more a part of the team, especially playing the first three games.
“I feel a lot fitter than I was at this point last year, so hopefully I can keep playing and get more match fit by doing that.”
Ormondroyd says Rhinos have learned lessons from the defeat at Melbourne.
“We’re gutted by the result,” he conceded.
“We went into the game with the intention of doing something special and getting the win, but it wasn’t to be.
“We made far too many errors to put ourselves in a position to win.
“That’s what we need to improve on.
“We need to keep hold of the ball a lot more and if we do that I think we’ll give ourselves a better chance.”