Leeds Rhinos forward Alex Mellor delighted that restart date is not far off
THE FRUSTRATION drags on, but Leeds Rhinos forward Alex Mellor can now see light at the end of the tunnel.
A date for Betfred Super League’s return from the Covid-19 shutdown is due to be announced following a clubs’ meeting tomorrow.
And Mellor – who joined Rhinos from Huddersfield Giants in the off-season and has played in all their five games this year – is looking forward to having a target to aim for.
“It’s frustrating,” he admitted of the long, unscheduled layoff.
“We are just ticking over, doing what we can, but we have got something to train towards now.
“Instead of just training with no goal, it helps you a bit to prepare for that date so you can train really hard and get ready for August.”
For Mellor, the past almost four months – since Rhinos last played against Toronto Wolfpack on March 5 – has been a far cry from a normal end of year break.
He reflected: “The off-season’s different because then you sort of chill out a bit and don’t do much training and then you pick up a bit towards the back end, ready for pre-season.
“With this, you have got to stay at peak fitness because you’re not sure when they are going to call you in and you’re going to play.
“Having to stay as fit as you can while confined to your house has been strange.
“It is hard to motivate yourself when you’re on your own and there’s no real light at the end of the tunnel, but there’s an end in sight now.”
Once a starting date is confirmed tomorrow, coaches will be able to step up planning for the return to action.
“We’ve been given a bit of an at-home programme to get us up to speed,” Mellor reported.
“Then I think they’ll give us another two or three weeks so you’d like to think we’ll have had a six-week pre-season block which should stand us in good stead. That is enough time.”
The number of games will also be revealed tomorrow and some midweek matches are inevitable as Super League scrambles to cram most of a season into four months
Mellor warned: “It’s a tough one because of the toll it takes on your body. It is a tough ask to make us play two or three times a week, but if it’s something we’ve got to do there’s no argument from us.
“We’ll just put our heads down and rip in. Hopefully that way we won’t be playing for as long, it will be a short, intense block and we’ll get a good rest after that.”
Rugby players tend to see more of their team-mates than families during the season and Mellor will be glad to get back among the banter.
“We’re just big kids really,” he said. “We are always taking the mickey out of each other and having a laugh and we do a bit of training in between.
“It is a bit strange missing the camaraderie.
“I have been trying to take the mickey out of the missus, but it’s a different environment! I am looking forward to being back around the lads, definitely.”
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