HISTORY-MAKER JIMMY Keinhorst reckons Leeds Rhinos’ teenage hopeful Mikolaj Oledski could write his own place in the record books.
Keinhorst became the first German international to play in Super League when he made his Rhinos debut five years ago.
Oledski is an England academy representative, but was born in Gdansk and is aiming to become the first Polish-born player to break through into Rhinos’ first team.
At 6ft 3ins tall and weighing 16st 7lbs, the Hunslet Warriors product – 18th man for the Qualifiers clash with Leigh Centurions last season – has the physical attributes to crack Super League and Keinhorst was impressed with what he saw in the Harry Jepson OBE Memorial Cup tie two days ago.
Oledski came off the bench in Leeds’ 21-14 win at Hunslet and team-mate Keinhorst picked out the 18-year-old – along with his fellow front-rower Jordan Baldwinson – as two players he was impressed with.
“The two props were taking us forward time after time and putting in some good work in defence as well,” Keinhorst said. “They went really well.”
Leeds’ side at South Leeds Stadium included 11 members of their full-time squad, with the rest being academy prospects. Keinhorst, 26, was the oldest player in Leeds’ line-up last weekend and said he enjoyed playing alongside the next generation.
“It’s great,” he said. “Obviously you get a limited time to train with some of the academy and scholarship members, but it was good to do that and get a game with them as well and see what’s coming through.
“I was impressed with the resilience of them and how they worked hard.”
Oledski wasn’t the only player to catch Keinhorst’s eye.
“Hopefully they’ll keep working hard and they’ll fulfil the potential they obviously show now,” he said.
“I think, looking forward, it is looking quite bright for quite a lot of the young lads.”
Keinhorst was one of the success stories of Leeds’ disappointing 2016 campaign, scoring 11 tries in 27 appearances.
“I am looking to build on that, obviously,” he said of his hopes for this year.
“It was a bit of a turbulent year with our results and whatnot, it was a bit different and there were new things to deal with.
“But I think as a group we’ve come through it quite strong. We want to put things right this season and turn that around.
“I am confident we can do that.
“I think we’ve got a lot of determined players in our team and we are itching for the new season to come round and to get back into it.”
Keinhorst insisted the Leeds players’ motivation isn’t based on making a point. He stressed: “I don’t think anyone’s got a point to prove.
“I think we just want to put last season behind us and focus on this one.
“We want to turn it around and have a better season and a more positive season results-wise.”