Leeds Rhinos director of rugby Kevin Sinfield excited by next season’s recruit Alex Mellor - the player Huddersfield Giants didn’t want to lose

LEEDS RHINOS director of rugby Kevin Sinfield expressed his delight after the signing of “exciting” Huddersfield Giants back-row Alex Mellor.

By Dave Craven
Wednesday, 5th June 2019, 8:20 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th June 2019, 9:20 pm
Leeds Rhinos director of rugby, Kevin Sinfield. PIC: Tony Johnson
Leeds Rhinos director of rugby, Kevin Sinfield. PIC: Tony Johnson

They have beaten a number of clubs to secure the in-form forward on a three-year deal from 2020.

Huddersfield were also keen to keep the talented Mellor whose reputation has grown markedly since joining them from Bradford Bulls in 2017.

“We are delighted to have secured Alex on a long-term deal with the club,” said Sinfield, as he looks for long-term replacement for the likes of Jamie Jones-Buchanan.

Alex Mellor. PIC: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

“He is an exciting young English forward who has developed his game since returning to Super League with the Giants.

“Despite only being 24, he has over 100 senior appearances already and I am sure he will continue to progress within our system.”

Halifax-born Mellor has scored seven tries in 14 appearances this term, including a hat-trick in the win against Castleford Tigers who they face again tomorrow.

“I am really grateful for the opportunity to join Leeds Rhinos and can’t wait to get started next season,” he said.

“I have had two fantastic years at Huddersfield and am grateful for everything they have given me. Leeds is a great club and, whilst they are having a tough season so far, hopefully I can play my part in helping the team get back to where they belong.

“It is a huge club and I am excited about being part of the process to rebuild the club’s fortunes on the field.

“I live locally and, whilst I had a couple of offers to move elsewhere, Leeds was always my first choice.”

Huddersfield boss Simon Woolford admitted: “Alex will be a loss, there’s no doubt about that.

“Unfortunately there was a lot of toing and froing in negotiations and I believe we made Alex a more than fair offer to what we value Alex at.

“It’s part of footy and he’s decided the best choice for his career moving forward is moving on. There’ll be no hard feelings there from my point of view. Sometimes you lose players you don’t really want to lose.

“All the best to him and we all move on.”

Woolford expects the player to carry on as normal until the end of the season.

“Alex made it clear to me when he informed me that he was leaving that he was fully committed for this year and I’d expect nothing less,” he said.

“He’s a good person. He’s come a long way with his rugby league in the last 12 months and developed into a really good back-rower.

“He’s a good person around the place, is popular and I wouldn’t envisage there being any problems with Alex’s attitude.”

Meanwhile, the Australian added that captain Leroy Cudjoe – the former England centre on his way back from knee surgery – is fit for selection tomorrow for the first time this year but will be given another week’s training before coming into his squad.