Leeds Rhinos prop Mik Oledzki is ready to answer tough questions

Leeds Rhinos' front-row prospect Mikolaj Oledzki is searingly honest about where he went wrong last year and how he can improve.

Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 5:00 pm
Mikolaj Oledzki. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

The 21-year-old forward turned in a series of powerful performances during Rhinos’ pre-season campaign and has been tipped by coach Richard Agar as a player to watch this year.

He featured 22 times last season, but had a long spell out of the side in the second half of the year and accepts he wasn’t up to scratch, something he has pledged to put right when Rhinos’ Betfred Super League campaign begins at home to Hull on Sunday.

“I felt I left last season on bad terms because I didn’t finish where I wanted to be personally,” Oledzki admitted.

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“I left it with question marks over some of the stuff I was doing on the field.

“I wasn’t good enough in certain areas and I finished the season questioning some of the areas of my rugby.”

But Oledzki is feeling better about his prospects now.

He added: “I have had a really good pre-season, I think.

“I managed to play in a few friendlies and put those things right, put myself in a good place to compete for that spot in the team.

“I feel like I am in a really good position individually and as a team we are as well for the start of the season.”

Oledzki made his Rhinos debut in 2017 and has played 47 times for the club, as well as having spells on loan at Bradford Bulls and dual-registration with Featherstone Rovers.

Following the massive turnaround of players at Leeds over the past two seasons, only seven members of the current senior squad made their first appearance before Oledzki.

Now beginning his fourth year in the full-time group, he reckons it is time to go up to a new level. The England Knights - and former England academy - powerhouse added: “I think the last few seasons I was in the mix, but I didn’t really show enough to put my foot down and show the coaching staff I deserve to be here in this spot in the team and I deserve to play every week.

“That’s probably on me because I didn’t push myself enough, but I feel like this year I am at a point in my career where I need to step it up a level and demonstrate what I can really do.”

Agar has pledged to give young players a chance, if they are good enough. Oledzki said: “He has been really good with us young lads. He has been giving us chances and talking to us and trying to guide us along the way.

“He talks to me about me and big Tom Holroyd [Rhinos’ 18-year-old prop] playing together in the future, which would be great.

“This year the coaching staff have put a lot of time into me to get the little areas right and every time I talk to Rich it is a positive conversation, that there’s certain things I need to work on at getting better, but I am going in the right direction with my individual rugby. I need to keep that going and hopefully I’ll get to play every week.”