Mikolaj Oledski on new Leeds Rhinos deal: ‘I can’t believe how quickly things have happened for me’

ENGLAND prop Mikolaj Oledzki has signed a new four-year deal with Leeds Rhinos and admitted: “Sometimes I struggle believing everything has happened so quickly.”

By Dave Craven
Tuesday, 7th December 2021, 6:00 am
Rapid rise: Leeds Rhinos and England’s Poland-born forward Mikolaj Oledzki has made rapid progess in his career so far. Picture Tony Johnson
Rapid rise: Leeds Rhinos and England’s Poland-born forward Mikolaj Oledzki has made rapid progess in his career so far. Picture Tony Johnson

He need not; the Polish-born front-row has rightfully earned his spot as one of Betfred Super League’s leading forwards.

It was barely 13 months ago that Leeds announced they had tied Oledzki down to a four-year contract but this new deal replaces that and means the player will be in Rhinos colours until at least the end of 2025.

Having made his England debut earlier this year and with a growing list of admirers, it is no surprise head coach Richard Agar has moved to ensure his future is firmly at Headingley.

Deserved: Leeds Rhinos coach Richard Agar had no qualms offering Mikolaj Oledski a new deal. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Oledzki, who won the Challenge Cup with Leeds last year, is still only 23 so should be coming into his prime during the course of this next contract.

“I am really happy to get it over the line,” he said.

“The decision was pretty easy. For the last few years I’ve really enjoyed going through the process we have been through of a few lads leaving but a lot of young lads coming through. “We’ve signed a lot of great players as well and I’ve really enjoyed being part of this building process.

“I’ve been here since I was a junior.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time and am really excited about what the next four years will bring.”

Oledzki has, indeed, been on Leeds’ books since he was 13 but has made giant strides since emerging through their academy into the first team and, as well as that Wembley glory, he earned his first England cap against France in October.

With more than 80 appearances since debuting for Leeds in 2017, he conceded: “Quite often I sit back and try to reflect on the last few years and how everything’s progressed.

“Sometimes I struggle to believe that everything has happened so quickly but I am really grateful to everyone who has been a part of it and for the full journey I’ve had.

“There’s been some ups and downs but you learn from everything that happens and it’s a massive year now to go one step further and really achieve something massive.”

Leeds, who have signed Australian half-backs Aidan Sezer and Blake Austin for 2022, are targeting a first title in five years and Oledzki sees no reason why that cannot happen.

“Last year we finished sixth, this year we finished fifth: we keep climbing,” he said.

“This next year is massive for us. We have a great team going forward. We have signed some great players and everyone is hungry for success. Everyone gives 110 per cent in training. You can tell everyone really wants to get back to the top and win some trophies. It will be an exciting year and also with the World Cup at the end of it a lot of players will want to impress and put their foot down.

“We have an exciting year ahead. It should be a very good competition.”

A strong-running, athletic prop who can hit holes in defence and cause damage with his defensive hits, Oledzki clearly has a bright future in the sport.

Alongside the likes of Matt Prior and Zane Tetevano, he helps form one of the strongest middles in Super League.

He said: “We’ve got great players in the middle who I’m fortunate to play with every week.

“That also helps me develop my game and was probably another factor that helped my decision become quite easy as playing with the lads I have been with at Leeds the last few years has helped me do that.

“I love playing with them and we have a great bunch of players.

“It’s a great place to be on the field as well as off it and I can’t wait for the next four years.”

Since joining the club himself in October 2018, Agar has seen first-hand Oledzki’s progress.

He said: “Mik thoroughly deserves this new contract. As a club, we have a policy of rewarding success and Mik’s form over the last two years certainly warrants that.

“He has become one of the leading forwards in Super League, earning a place in the England side and is at the core of our senior players and performers here at the Rhinos on a consistent basis which has secured his status in the game.”

Meanwhile, York City Knights Ladies have signed England full-back Tara Stanley from Castleford Tigers for 2022.