RISING STAR Jack Ormondroyd hopes he is closing in on his Super League debut.
Ormondroyd joined Leeds Rhinos from Featherstone Rovers at the end of last year and has begun the new campaign on dual-registration with his former club.
But after impressing in pre-season, the big prop was included in Rhinos’ initial squad for last weekend’s Betfred Super League opener at St Helens and though he didn’t make the 17 he is hopeful his breakthrough will come sooner rather than later.
“It was a good experience,” Ormondroyd said of his involvement in the squad for the trip to Saints.
“I know I played in the friendlies, but it’s different when it’s the first league game, especially against St Helens.
“It was a big crowd and a nice experience and it has made me even hungrier to be in the team and to be part of it.”
Ormondroyd, whose father Ian was a footballer with clubs including Bradford City, Aston Villa, Leicester, Derby and Hull, added: “I had a meeting with Brian [coach Brian McDermott] on our training camp.
“We talked about how pre-season had gone and it was really encouraging. Watching the lads in the first game has made me really want to get out there and play with them.
“Hopefully it won’t be too long and if I get my chance hopefully I can play well and keep a place in the team.”
At 25 Ormondroyd is no spring chicken, but he was a late starter in rugby league and admits he is still learning the game, particularly at full-time level.
One of the shining lights of Rhinos’ pre-season campaign, he admitted: “It is a big step up, but the only way I am going to get used to it is by playing.
“We played some decent teams in pre-season and it was good to be involved in those games.
“I think my match fitness is coming back, but I think playing Super League games is ultimately what will improve me.
“Being at Leeds, in a full-time environment, is helping me massively.
“The lads here are some of the best players in the country and the world.
“You’ve got Kal and Hally [Kallum Watkins and Ryan Hall] and being around them and part of a group like that is really good.
“We are in the video sessions even when we’ve not played so it is nice to sit back – not having to worry about whether you’ve done anything wrong – and watch and learn things from there.”
Ormondroyd made 30 appearances for Rovers last year and has played in both their opening Kingstone Press Championship fixtures, including last Sunday’s 8-6 win against Oldham in a mudbath at Big Fellas Stadium.
“It is going really well,” he reflected. “We played Halifax the first week and that was a really tough game, a lot tougher than I expected.
“Sunday was a scrappy game, but it shows a lot of character and grit to come through those games and get the win. I think it’s really important to be able to do that.”