Castleford Tigers have signed Alex Mellor from Leeds Rhinos with immediate effect after the two clubs came to an agreement on the transfer of the 27-year-old back-rower.
Mellor was initially meant to move to The Jungle for the 2023 season, but having struggled for minutes under new coach Rohan Smith it was agreed that the Tigers would take the ex-Huddersfield man across West Yorkshire early.
Since signing from the Giants with big expectations, Mellor has struggled at Headingley and has played just 22 times in three seasons, and having become frustrated at the lack of opportunities he will now have a chance to excel under Lee Radford.
Speaking about joining Castleford, Mellor told the club’s official website: “It feels good, it’s been a bit of a long process getting things sorted, so to finally have it all figured out is a good feeling.
“Back-row suits my play style, I think I’m a bloke who is going to put his head down and work hard, come up with some plays when I need to but put the team first and do every little thing I can to make the team better.
“It’s good to be a part of it, you look at some of the signings that we’ve made and the prospects we’ve got for next year, it is really exciting. It is not one of those places that you come and aim for mid-table, this is one of those places where we want to be up the table and push. Looking at the signings and the squad we’re building, it’s definitely something we can do.”
Speaking about the reasons why he left Headingley early, Mellor revealed that Castleford boss Radford played a big role in convincing him to join the Tigers earlier than initially agreed.
“Lee Radford is a big reason,” he said. “I sat down with him the first time and felt comfortable around him and liked what he had to say, his persona, how he viewed things in rugby. I think the first time we met it wasn’t too formal and we get on, I could really see myself playing under him and coming to Castleford to see what we can do.
Radford added: “Alex is a really athletic, strike ball player on an edge, I’ve watched him over the years and been impressed with him and he’s probably not struck the chords that he wanted to so far this year. I think we’re picking up someone who we can try to get back into the swing of things and enjoying his rugby again.
“He has been on the cusp of the England Knights selection, he’s of the age where his best years are still in front of him and I think he will be a good coup for us. I got a really good feeling for him and everyone I’ve spoken to, player and coach, has only had good things to say about him in how he trains and approaches training.
“Competition is what we need, and he will be playing on an edge, this time of year to pick someone up of his quality is fantastic, as is having him long-term too. Hopefully, this place will be good for him as he will be good for us.”