Written by Callum Walker
22-year-old Hull FC star Lewis Bienek hails from the south-east London area of Sidcup. That, in itself, makes his journey to a Rugby League player even more impressive.
In fact, the 6 ft 3, 120kg prop actually began his sporting career in the 15-a-side game before a stroke of luck opened a pathway to the game we all know and love.
“I started playing Rugby Union in secondary school; a mate of mine needed an extra player for a game of League one day, so I went down to fill in and ended up sticking at it,” Bienek told Everything Rugby League.
“From there, I started going through the development system in the south and then joined the system at London Broncos and worked my way up from there.”
Bienek signed for Hull in May 2018, but was loaned back immediately to the Broncos where he added another six appearances to the 18 he had racked up for the capital club. To sign for a club 200 miles away on the east coast was an easy decision for the forward to make.
“I had been at London from the start and I just wanted to see what other teams work like and be in that Super League environment.
“It was too good an opportunity to miss out on.”
After returning from his loan at London, the prop made similar moves to Doncaster and Batley where he made four and 16 appearances respectively.
“Playing with these different teams, you pick up things just being around different coaches and playing styles that you can add to your own game and keep improving.
“I’m a much better player for it and it’s helped me get where I am today.”
Despite impressing in the seven performances he has made for the black-and-whites, Bienek has failed to secure a first-team spot. But that is something the Irish international is determined to obtain.
“That’s the main goal at whichever club I go to.
“When you get the chance to play and settle into a team, you get the best results.”
The forward had initially signed for Leigh ahead of the 2020 Championship season, but made just three appearances before time was called on the sport with the coronavirus pandemic in full flow.