Leeds Rhinos reward prop Mikolaj Oledzki with new four-year contract
HISTORY-MAKER Mikolaj Oledzki has penned a new four-year contract which will keep him at Leeds Rhinos until the end of 2024.
The 21-year-old last month became the first Polish-born player to appear in a Challenge Cup final when he started at prop in Leeds’ 17-16 Wembley victory over Salford Red Devils.
Since his debut in 2017, the Rhinos youth product has racked up 66 first-team appearances with Leeds and also represented England at academy and Knights level.
He was one of only three players, alongside Brad Dwyer and Bodene Thompson, to play in all four of Leeds’ games in a recent 10-day spell and has missed just two of Rhinos’ 21 competitive fixtures this year, both times when coach Richard Agar rested key players for a midweek match ahead of a Cup round.
A “very happy” Oledzki said: “This is the club where it all started for me and I have been here since I was 13.
“I am really grateful to everyone at this club who has helped me on my rugby journey so far and helped me progress.
“I want to stay here for as long as I can and play my best rugby. I am over the moon we have got the deal signed.”
Oledzki, who was born in Gdansk, added: “I am really grateful for the opportunities the club has given me over the last few years. I have come a long way so far to be able to play at the Super-League level.
“The club have invested a lot of time and effort into me to help build me as a player and, hopefully, I can repay that faith with some top performances myself and, collectively, bring more success as a team.”
Rhinos regard Oledzki as a cornerstone of the club’s next successful side and he insisted his aim is to win more trophies over the coming four seasons.
“A new generation of young players got a taste of what success feels like with our win at Wembley and that builds a hunger for more silverware,” Oledzki added.
“We need to keep working hard now and, hopefully over the next few years, we can achieve even more as a group.”
Rhinos director of rugby, Kevin Sinfield, said: “It is a pleasure to be able to offer Mikolaj a new contract at the club after the hard work and dedication he has shown in recent years.
“He has been a key figure in our team this season and continues to learn and develop under Richard Agar and our coaching team.”
Sinfield reckons the new contract is evidence of Rhinos’ commitment to promoting players through the ranks. He added: “Importantly for the club, Mik is the fifth young player to commit their long-term future.
“Harry Newman is signed until the end of 2022 while Jack Walker, Cameron Smith and Ash Handley are all contracted until the end of 2023.
“We have another crop of talented players coming through behind this group.
“And it shows that our development pathway is continuing to work and importantly we can give opportunities for our young players to play at the highest level.”