TEENAGE PROSPECT Mikolaj Oledzki insists he isn’t going to run before he can walk.
The Poland-born England academy international is developing a reputation as one of the European game’s most exciting pack prospects.
But he says he is willing to bide his time and hasn’t set a target for how many games he wants to play this year.
Oledzki, who is a member of Rhinos’ full-time squad, but outside their top-25, could be one candidate to fill the vacancy left by veteran Keith Galloway’s retirement from elite-level rugby league.
However, as a late starter in the sport, he admits it is still early in his development and for the moment his focus is mainly on learning the game and improving with every match, whether that is at Leeds or somewhere else.
“We are very unfortunate to lose Keith because he is a great player and he will be missed by the lads,” Oledzki said.
“He was a big character in the group.
“When opportunities come I’ll take them with both hands and I will make the most of them, but I can’t say what is going to happen.”
Oledzki made three senior appearances for Rhinos last year, as well as 20 on loan at Bradford Bulls and two as a dual-registration player for Featherstone Rovers. And he said: “I want to play as many games as I can.
“If I get an opportunity to play I am going to give it my best shot and hopefully the coaching staff will realise I am giving 100 per cent and I will get more chances.”
If I get an opportunity to play I am going to give it my best shot and hopefully the coaching staff will realise I am giving 100 per cent and I will get more chances.Mikolaj Oledzki
It has been a frustrating opening to the season for the 19-year-old.
Oledzki impressed for Leeds Rhinos in pre-season games against Wakefield Trinity and Coventry Bears, but then suffered a shoulder injury and stomach complaint which kept him out of action until the Betfred Super League round three defeat at Widnes Vikings nine days ago.
He came off the bench in that game and was named in Rhinos’ initial 19-man squad to face Catalans Dragons last Friday, but when that was postponed Featherstone Rovers drafted him into their side to face Leigh Centurions in the Betfred Championship.
Oledzki was one of Rovers’ starting props in an impressive 38-30 victory and reckons that will stand him in good stead for the next time he is thrust into top-flight action.
“It was a tough game against a tough Leigh side and a great game to be involved in for my personal development and for the team as well,” Oledzki said of last Sunday’s win.
“I have been a bit unlucky with a few injuries and I haven’t been well so it was good to get some game time.
“I really don’t mind going on dual-reg’ as long as I am getting some game time.
“I am more than happy.
“For my personal development I can get some game time under my belt and get some experience, so when the time comes and I am needed [by Leeds] I can step up and play well.”