Leeds Rhinos star Mikolaj Oledzki has returned to training this week after surgery meant he would miss 12-14 weeks starting in pre-season.
Oledzki picked up an injury in Leeds’ play-off win over Catalans Dragons but his determination saw him remain in the side and guide them to Old Trafford.
He then could not turn down the opportunity to play for England in the Rugby League World Cup.
But then he required surgery. The prop has been Leeds’ Player of the Year the last two seasons and his return will be a massive boost though he still needs to get some training under his belt.
A huge boost to have potentially their best player edging closer to playing, Rohan Smith confirmed that it won’t be this week that we see the prop:
“Not this week no. He could be the week after or the one after that.
“It is what it is, the chose to play for England and in that period his shoulder got worse because he put things worse but he needed the surgery and we knew he would miss the start of the season.
“He is flying in training, just needs to get some team training and we need to check that off.”
Another contender for Leeds’ best player would be Harry Newman. The centre has played 65 minutes out of a possible 160 over the last two weeks so the question now is can he play the full 80 against Catalans Dragons on Saturday?
“We see how he gets through, he has trained well today,” Smith said.
“He is very fit, he has done a lot of work.
“It’s just a graduated process just as you would in pre-season, you stagger your game time.”
“We have done our best to make a logical and scientific based process to give him the best chance to perform short term and long term.
“We haven’t had a discussion about the plan for this week. As we get closer we will make a decision. If fit and able, he may play 80.”