Leeds Rhinos: Settled Jack Ormondroyd’s aiming to hit the ground running

Leeds Rhinos' 6ft 5ins forward Jack Ormondroyd is hoping to make a big impression during the close season. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Leeds Rhinos' 6ft 5ins forward Jack Ormondroyd is hoping to make a big impression during the close season. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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SUPER LEAGUE rookie Jack Ormondroyd believes he will be better prepared for Leeds Rhinos’ next campaign in 2018.

The promising forward has just completed his first season with the new champions having signed from Championship outfit Featherstone Rovers.

Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

He made his Super League debut in Leeds’ win at Leigh in February but made just six more top-flight appearances and spent most of his time back on loan at Featherstone.

However, settled Ormondroyd, a late starter to full-time rugby league at the age of 25, hopes to make more of a mark this time around.

“Last year I had a good pre-season up until Boxing Day when I pulled my calf so I sort of faltered a bit after that,” he recalled.

“But I’m looking forward to this. I’ve had a good couple of weeks training and am looking forward to building on that and hopefully doing well in the pre-season matches to then get a few more games under my belt.

“It took a little bit of getting used to last year having come from Featherstone where we just used to train on a night time.

“It wasn’t as professional as it was here at Leeds and it did take quite a bit of adjusting.

“But I feel this year I’ve hit the ground running a bit more and know what’s going on now so I do feel a lot better.”

The six foot five inch prop knows he will have plenty of competition with the likes of Ireland star Brad Singleton, ex-Kangaroo Keith Galloway – when he returns from Achilles surgery – and Aussie pair Adam Cuthbertson and Mitch Garbutt all to contend with in the front-row battle. Ormondroyd, who did not play rugby league until the age of 16, insisted: “It’s a good thing having competition for places, especially for the coach.

“He gets the best out of the team. All I can do is work as hard as I can in pre-season and hopefully it will come off for me.”

Asked if Brian McDermott had asked anything specific of him for next season, he added: “Not really but I’ve not seen much yet of him as he was away with USA in the World Cup.

“Everyone had a meeting with him at the end of last year, though, and the main thing he told me was I was sort of tip-toeing it a little bit at the start of last pre-season.

“He just wants me to rip into the start of this one and that’s the plan.”

Clearly, if Ormondroyd – who was bought on a three-year deal – spends less time back at Featherstone in 2018, that will generally mean he is doing well.

“That would be a bonus,” said the player, who can also operate at loose-forward.

“It’s a great club is Featherstone but obviously I want to try and play with Leeds as much as I can this year. Hopefully I can get as many games as I can.”

Leeds Rhinos have a habit of giving young talent a chance and, even though he could be classed as a mature student, Ormondroyd hopes to profit in the same way.

“It’s good that they do,” said the 26-year-old Headingley pack man.

“A lot of clubs bring a lot of bigger names over from Australia but the majority of people here at the minute in pre-season are all young, local lads so that’s good to see.

“Hopefully some of these young lads get a shot as well this year.”

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