Alex Mellor has told Love Rugby League that his mid-season move to Castleford was driven by the need to feel wanted again.
The second-rower departed Leeds earlier this week to sign for the Tigers. He had spent two and a half years at Headingley, winning the Challenge Cup in 2020.
This season however, Mellor struggled for game time. The 27-year-old hadn’t made an appearance for the Rhinos under Rohan Smith. His last run out in a Leeds shirt came in April, away against new club Castleford.
“When you’re not part of that starting 13, you start to drift out, and then when you’re not part of the 17, you feel a bit out of the circle,” Mellor told Love Rugby League.
“Subconsciously, you’re not too bothered about the training and what goes on. I still trained hard, but if there’s a bad session where loads of balls are dropped, then it doesn’t affect you as much. That’s because you feel like you’ve drifted out.
“To be back in the heat here at Cas, under the torch and under the spotlight, that’s a very welcoming feeling. It’s just nice to feel wanted again.
“I’d already signed here for next year, that was all sorted, so I was focused on Leeds until the end of the season. Cas came knocking and asked me to come now though, it was great to feel wanted, I jumped at the opportunity.
“I’m raring to go, I’ve got a lot of points to prove, and I’ve got the fire inside my belly ready to go out and play.”
No Hard Feelings
Despite his struggles at Leeds over the last 18 months, Mellor insists he would do it all over again.
He leaves Headingley with 34 appearances, all bar three in starting line-ups. There was also one appearance out on loan with Championship side Bradford this term.
Playing as the Bulls beat Sheffield, Mellor added, “I’ve got no regrets at all about my time at Leeds.
“I’ve gone there and won the Challenge Cup in my first year, it’s what dreams are made of. It’s something I’ll never forget.
“Leeds is a fantastic place. I’ve had a great time there, but that’s my past now and I’m focused on my future. I’m fully focused on Cas.”
“It’s a shame I didn’t play under him because I’ve got a good relationship with him,” said the second-rower.
“I’m sure he’ll go on to be successful at the club. I don’t think he’s an awkward character at all, he wants the best for you if you’re his player regardless of whether you’re moving on the next season or not.”