I don’t think I’ve played my best rugby yet: Derrell Olpherts ready to grow under new coach Smith

Josh McAllister
Derrell Olpherts

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com - 24/01/2023 - Rugby League - Betfred Super League - Leeds Rhinos Media Day 2023 - Headingley Stadium, Leeds, England - Derrell Olpherts.

Derrell Olpherts believes he’s yet to reach the peak of his career even at the age of 31 as the winger prepares for his debut season with Leeds.

Olpherts made the switch from Castleford during the off-season on a two-year deal.

He has received shirt number 16 for his first year at Headingley Stadium, previously worn by Richie Myler in 2022.

“I’m honoured to be a part of this team and this club and I’m hoping I can do them proud by putting in the performances every week,” Olpherts told Love Rugby League. 

“Pre-season has been good. I feel fit and ready to go. Personally, I think I’ve fit in well. 

“I feel a part of the team and the boys, so I’ve got nothing to complain about in that department. I’m looking forward now to cracking on in round one.

“I definitely want to be playing week in, week out, performing at a high level for the club.”

Derrell Olpherts: I know he’ll bring the best out of me

Australian coach Smith took over Leeds midway through the 2022 campaign, turning their season around in a remarkable fashion to lead them to the Grand Final.

The Rhinos ultimately fell short to St Helens at Old Trafford, but Smith’s influence on the side was evident to see, another major attraction for Olphers to join the club. 

“He’s a good coach. I know he’ll bring the best out of me and will bring the best out of this team,” Olpherts said.

“I’m loving being in the environment with him and learning and trying to progress my game to be a better player all around.

“Personally, I want to progress here and being better than I have been in previous year.

“I don’t think I’ve played my best rugby yet at all by a long shot. I know there’s loads of improvement in there for me.”

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