Alex Mellor convinced his Leeds Rhinos ‘gamble’ will pay off

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Recruit Alex Mellor has admitted joining Leeds Rhinos is a gamble, but says the potential rewards far outweigh the risks.

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Alex Mellor.

Alex Mellor.

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The second-row forward will move to Rhinos next season on a three-year contract after completing the current campaign with Huddersfield Giants.Lee

The 24-year-old is Leeds’ first confirmed signing for 2019 and the deal has been done without them having a head coach in place.

Alex Mellor is tackled by Castleford's Jesse Sene-Lefao.

Alex Mellor is tackled by Castleford's Jesse Sene-Lefao.

He conceded: “That is a bit of a risk.

“It is out of my comfort zone, there’s questions that are unanswered and things I am not sure about, but the reward outweighs the risk.

“You can say there’s no coach, you don’t know who’s going to be coaching and there’s this and there’s that, but for me to be at Leeds is something that outweighs all that.”

Halifax-born Mellor began his career at Bradford Bulls in 2013 and joined Giants four years later.

Alex Mellor scores against Hull FC during Magic Weekend.

Alex Mellor scores against Hull FC during Magic Weekend.

He was offered a new contract by Huddersfield, but feels the time is right for a move and reckons Leeds, despite their recent troubles, offer the best chance of collecting silverware.

“There’s definitely potential to be winning something,” he predicted.

“The things Kev [Sinfield, Rhinos’ director of rugby] is putting in place and the way the club is shaping, combine that with the history it has got – it is set for a return and it’s something I’d love to be a part of.”

Though St Helens, the current Super League leaders, were also keen on the former Bradford Bulls forward, he insisted Leeds was “always my number one choice”.

He said: “As soon as Kev spoke to me it was something that really excited me and a club I have always wanted to be at.

“They tried to come in for me a couple of years ago and it all fell through, so they kind of teased me a little bit back then so for it all to finally come off and for me to be at Leeds is something I am really happy about.”

Sinfield has made it clear he is looking to rebuild Rhinos and reverse the decline which began after he led them to the treble in 2015.

“He has definitely impressed me,” Mellor added.

“I feel his drive and his hunger for success and it is something I want to be part of.

“He has sold the club well to me and he has told me I am going to be a part of it and that excites me as well.

“For me to be part of his plans is really exciting.”

Mellor has already had a tour of Emerald Headingley and Rhinos’ Kirkstall training base and enthused: “I could not be more impressed if I tried.

“It is some of the best facilities I have seen, not just in rugby league, but in any sport or across the country. That is really attractive. It’s not the be-all and end-all, but it is somewhere you go to work every day and it makes it a little bit easier.”

Mellor will discuss his move to Rhinos on today’s edition of Rugby League BackChat which will be broadcast on FreeSports at 5pm. Fellow guests include former Leeds player and assistant-coach Francis Cummins.