Castleford Tigers sign Callum McLelland: Leeds Rhinos pivot makes long-anticipated move to Super League rivals

Half-back Callum McLelland has completed his move from Leeds Rhinos to Castleford Tigers.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 8:18 am

The former England academy pivot has penned a two-year contract at his hometown club, with an option to double that.

McLelland joined Castleford at the age of 14 from local amateur side Lock Lane and worked his way through Tigers' scholarship and academy programmes before switching codes in 2017.

He gained eight caps for Scotland under-20s and returned to the 13-a-side game with Rhinos in August, 2018, making his Betfred Super League debut against Castleford the following year.

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Callum McLelland scores for Rhinos against Salford in July. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe

The 22-year-old is now out of contract at Leeds, having scored two tries in 16 senior appearances.

His 2021 campaign was wrecked by a succession of injuries - including long-term knee damage in August - which restricted him to just five games.

“I’m ecstatic," he said of his return to Tigers.

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Callum McLelland. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

"This is something I’ve been speaking about for quite a long time, how I’d always like to come back and it has happened sooner than I would have thought, but I’m glad for it,” McLelland said.

“I played two minutes down the road at Lock Lane, always had a season ticket from being the age of about eight, stood in the Wheldon Road end singing all the songs.

“I always dreamed of playing for Cas and last time I was here I, unfortunately, didn’t end up playing a Super League game, but now I’m hoping to kick on and play here for the next couple of years.”

McLelland spent time with Featherstone Rovers on dual-registration during his stint with Leeds and was part of their million pound game squad two years ago.

I think I’ve become a lot more mature as a player, a lot more patient," he added.

"Loads of different tasks have been thrown at me on the field, off the field - I feel like I’ve matured a lot and hopefully that shows when I’m playing.”

Of working under Tigers' new coach Lee Radford, Mclelland said: “I’m really looking forward to it.

"I’ve met Lee a couple of times now and he seems a really good bloke.

"His record speaks for itself with the two Challenge Cups.

“Whichever club you ask, [the Jungle] is one of the hardest away grounds to come to and win and we want to try and make this place a fortress next year.”

Radford is "delighted" with his latest recruit.

He said: "He’s a young, energetic half-back who sadly this year has suffered a couple of injury setbacks.

“Alongside Danny Richardson, Gareth O’Brien and Jake Trueman, he adds further competition to our halves.

“At just 22 as well, I’m thrilled to get a signing of his quality over the line and he is a signing we have made with the future also in mind.

"I’m looking forward to coaching Callum."

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