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Rangers duo receive Poland call-up
Wednesday 26th October 2016 @ 11:13 by Mark Phillip
Denton & Audenshaw Sports

Two rugby league players from Denton have been selected to represent the Polish National Squad in a two game series against the GB Teachers.

Picture by Malcolm Southerden.

Picture by Malcolm Southerden.

Anthony Petrykowski and Ricky Ward, who both play for Manchester Rangers Rugby League Club, have flown out to Lordz, Poland, for a two game series which takes place tomorrow (27th) and Saturday(29th).

Speaking ahead of the games, the duo expressed their delight upon being selected for Poland and couldn’t wait to represent their grandfathers’ heritage.

Anthony, 29, told Reporter Sport: “To be asked to represent Poland is an honour.

“My Grandfather, Stan Petrykowski, came from a village called Steklin and during the Second World War he was captured and became a prisoner.

“He, and many others, made the brave decision to exile to France by foot and were then saved where they had the decision to either travel to America or the UK.

“My Grandad lived with me when I was a child in Chorlton Cum-Hardy where he practically became my child minder when my parents worked.

“You could tell this as when I started Nursery at Chorlton C of E I was speaking Polish rather than English, and, unfortunately, he had to stop speaking to me in Polish.

“Unfortunately, my Grandad isn’t with us anymore but I know he would be very proud of me.”

Ricky in action for Manchester Rangers. Picture by Marissa Chaplin

Ricky in action for Manchester Rangers. Picture by Marissa Chaplin

Ricky, 21, who attended Audenshaw High School and Sixth-Form College, was equally as proud to represent Poland. He said: “This is my first visit to Poland and my first time to be called up to represent the national squad.

“I feel proud and it’s a huge achievement. It has opened up the opportunity for me to represent my Grandfathers heritage.”

Both players have just completed their domestic club campaigns in the North West 2nd and 4th Division, and despite not challenging for silverware or battling relegation, both players were happy with the way things went.

Anthony, a regular in the Rangers Reserves this year, said: “Manchester Rangers are the first club I joined which I have enjoyed since my first training session.

“We have two teams who have finished their seasons now and have both experienced tough tests throughout.

“Both teams have played some fantastic rugby to remain in their leagues this year.”

Although the campaign has only just finished, Ricky, who has been one of the Rangers stand out players this year, is already looking ahead to next season. He said: “I joined Manchester Rangers in 2014 and I have played for them for two seasons now.

“I am a regular member of the first team and play frequently.

“We’ve had a tough season losing many close fixtures but we’re hoping to improve our form going into the 2017 season.

“I believe once the team starts to gel and work together effectively we will begin to win many more games and send us in a direction where we want to be.”

While the trip will mark Ricky’s first visit to Poland, Anthony is well accustomed to the journey.

In fact, he has ventured to the country on numerous occasions to help grow their rugby league status. He said: “In May 2015 I researched Rugby League in Poland regarding the status, history and growth and after taking the initiative to make contact with the Poland Rugby League President, Lukasz Lucka, to request a replica jersey I learnt that the sport was not professional, nor had any funding at all.

“To be a part of the Rugby League European Federation (RLEF) you had to have a minimum of four clubs within the country, at this point Poland had one.

“After discussing with Lukasz about growing the sport in Poland I offered to visit to help coach which I have done in September and December 2015 and June 2016 where now they have six clubs to date.

“To visit again is fantastic as I love Lodz and I plan on building the relationship between myself and the Rugby League community in Poland.

“I want to build the sport over there as much as I can.”