Pole position - Mik Oledzki has big Leeds Rhinos future

Leeds Rhinos' management have high hopes for young front-rower Mikolaj Oledzki.

Thursday, 30th July 2020, 12:00 pm

The first Polish-born player to appear for the club, Oledzki is now in his fourth season as a member of the first team squad and already has 52 senior appearances under his belt, at the age of just 21.

The England academy and Knights prop was in fine form before Betfred Super League was suspended in March because of coronavirus, having played in all five games so far.

Rhinos return to action on Sunday against Huddersfield Giants and here we assess Oledzki’s likely contribution to their hopes of silverware this season.

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Mikolaj Oledzki in training ahead of Sunday's game against Huddersfielde. Picture by Varley Picture Agency.

Attributes:

There’s a saying in rugby league: ‘a good big ‘un always beats a good little ‘un’.

Oledzki is 6ft 2ins and 17st 3lbs so has the physical prowess to go toe to toe with anyone in Super League.

He enjoys the contact side of the game and has pace to add to his raw power which makes him a difficult player to stop close to the opposition’s line.

Mikolaj Oledzki takes a breather at training. Picture by Varley Picture Agency.

He is also a very fast learner.

Defining moment:

Rhinos had a poor season in 2018, but an early win at St Helens gave their fans something to celebrate.

With four first-choice forwards ruled out, Oledzki was handed a chance among the substitutes and produced a classy display which highlighted his potential at the top level.

Mikolaj OIedzki on the charge against Toronto in March. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Best season:

Oledzki is one for the future, but was in arguably his best form for Leeds over the first five games of the current campaign.

He played 22 times in each of the past two seasons and featured for England’s second string at the end of both.

Concerns:

The Hunslet Warriors product is still very raw.

Having taken up rugby league in his teens, he is not steeped in the game the way many young players are.

He lacked consistency at times last year, losing his place for a while after a positive start.

Value:

Oledzki could be part of Rhinos’ engine room for the next decade and is a potential future Test prop.

He has everything on his side - youth, size, power and a coach willing to give young players a chance.

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Thank you

Laura Collins