One Manchester Rangers player is set to explore his family history, as well as help to develop the sport of rugby league, when he travels to Poland soon.
Anthony Petrykowski, who is a community coach at community club Rangers as well as a player, will visit his ancestral homeland later in September.
“I have always been interested in my family background,” he told the Rangers’ official website.
“My grandad on my father’s side, Stanislaw, was born in Steklin in Poland on the 31st March 1920.
“Within his life he experienced the Second World War from September 1939 and in 1941 he joined the Polish Army.
“After the war ended in 1945 he was demobbed in 1948 and came over to Hertfordshire, England to gain a number of jobs on farms and factories.
“After winning the pools in 1951 he moved to Manchester and worked at Turners Asbestos in Reddish. He met my grandmother, Elizabeth, where they married and lived in Chorlton-cum-Hardy.”
Petrykowski initially made contact with the rugby league authorities in Poland because he wanted to buy a national team shirt.
His enquiries meant that he soon made contact with Lukasz Lucka, who is the chairman of rugby league in Poland.
Lucka then told Petrykowski that Poland only has one club side, the Lodz Magpies, who also double up as the national team.
As a result of only having one club team, Poland currently remains ineligible for membership of the Rugby League European Federation (RLEF).
“Lukasz’s dream is to build the sport of Rugby League within Poland and is planning on setting up club team’s in Glowno, Strykow, Brzeziny, Aleksandrow Lodzki, Konstantynow Lodzki, Lask and Tomaszow Mazowiecki,” explained Petrykowski, who is a UKCC Level 2 qualified coach.
“Lukasz has received help from professional clubs such as St Helens and St George-Illawarra Dragons where they have donated previous kits for them to use.
“Lukasz and I have spoken about the development of the sport within Poland where he has invited me to represent Poland RL in future games that they play.
“We have arranged for me to visit him in Lodz from the 12th September 2015 till the 15th September 2015.
“During my time in Poland I will be coaching with new clubs in the above areas that are set up, having a meeting with Lukasz and other members within the board of Poland RL regarding their future plans and how I can assist.
“I plan to coach rugby league in schools, as well as coaching with the current national squad who are also the Lodz Magpies.
“My further intentions whilst over there of course will be to represent Manchester Rangers.
“This is my first trip and I am confident it will be a successful one where future trips for myself, but also for Lukasz, will commence.”