New signing Alex Mellor settles in at Leeds Rhinos after move from Huddersfield Giants
Change is proving as good as a rest for Leeds Rhinos recruit Alex Mellor.
The second-rower, brought in from Huddersfield Giants, signed for Rhinos in June and had a long wait to link up with his new club.
Halifax-born Mellor, who spent three seasons with Bradford Bulls before joining Huddersfield ahead of the 2017 campaign, is on a three-year contract and began pre-season training four days ago.
He admitted: “It’s strange what they do in rugby league, you sign for a club and then you don’t start for six months and you’ve still got to play for your old club. It is a long transition, you probably don’t get to play for your new club until eight months after you’ve signed, but that transition is over now.
“I had a good three years at Huddersfield, but I feel like this is a good time for me to change and it has been everything I expected so far.”
Mellor, 25, described switching clubs as being “a bit like going to a new school”. He said: “It is a change of scenery, you don’t know your way around the place, but all the lads are friendly and sound and it has been a good transition for me. I have enjoyed starting.”
Rhinos kick off their pre-season campaign at home to Wakefield Trinity on Boxing Day.
“It’ll be a different experience for me; it’s something I have never done,” Mellor said of the festive fixture.
“I won’t have as much Christmas pudding – or any beer – so it will be a bit of a different Christmas for me, but it’s something I am looking forward to and hopefully it will stand me in good stead for what’s going to come for the season.”
After the disappointment of last term’s eighth-placed finish, most of Rhinos’ squad were in from day one of pre-season and Mellor believes the three months until their opening Betfred Super League fixture, at home to Hull on Sunday, February 2, will be crucial. He is one of only two new faces, alongside half-back Luke Gale, but it is the first pre-season at Leeds for Ava Seumanufagai, Rob Lui and Rhyse Martin who all joined the club midway through 2019.
“A lot of clubs will be saying that,” Mellor admitted. “But this club, being such a big club with such a big fan base and having been so successful in the past, there can’t be a hangover.
“There has to be a reaction from what’s happened and I think everyone at this place is so hungry for that to happen. I am confident it will happen and I am looking forward to being part of it when it does.”
Once the campaign begins, Mellor won’t have long to wait before crossing swords with his former team.
Rhinos visit Huddersfield in round two and he said: “That’s something I am looking forward to, seeing some old faces and hopefully we’ll get a win there. That would be nice.
“It’s good the fixtures are out now, it makes it more real. You can prepare for the first round and it puts a bit of light at the end of the tunnel because it can be a deep, dark place pre-season. It’s just a slog, but if you are looking forward to games they eventually come round.”