Leigh Leopards’ Challenge Cup winner reveals what convinced him to make Salford Red Devils switch

Ben Olawumi
Joe Mellor, Leigh Leopards badge, Salford Red Devils badge

Joe Mellor with the Leigh Leopards & Salford Red Devils badges - Alamy

Joe Mellor has heaped praise on new club Salford Red Devils and head coach Paul Rowley for his ‘exciting’ style of play having joined from Leigh Leopards ahead of 2024.

Salford confirmed Mellor’s signing on a two-year deal late last week, with the Warrington native becoming their eighth addition this off-season.

Cutting short his time at Leigh to move across Greater Manchester, Mellor joins a Red Devils side that narrowly missed out on a play-off berth in Super League this year.

Having been part of the Leopards squad twice beaten by Rowley’s side in the season just gone however, he knows the threats possessed by his new team-mates.

Joe Mellor heaps praise on new club Salford Red Devils following move from Leigh Leopards

Speaking to Salford’s YouTube channel, the half-back – who had filled in at hooker for Leigh – said: “I just feel the way Salford play, that really suits my game. That’s what really excites me about being here.

“Last year, it was so unlucky for Salford to miss out in those last couple of games. Every time you watch them, the opponent has to be on it against them.

“They do play differently, and that can spook other teams. The way they move the ball and stuff like that is exciting, you have to be ready (as an opponent), it’s constant.

“They play rugby which is nice to see, and that’s what has really convinced me.”

‘I feel like I’ve still got a lot to give – I’m fit, fast and strong’

The veteran – who will turn 33 on December 28 – adds to the seemingly ever-growing link between Leigh and Salford.

Red Devils boss Rowley is of course Leigh born and bred, a former player and head coach, with assistants Krisnan Inu and Kurt Haggerty also donning the Leythers’ colours not too long ago.

Ex-Ireland ace Haggerty was actually in ‘interim’ charge of Leigh for the vast majority of 2021, Mellor’s first year as a Centurion.

Others like Ryan Brierley and Sam Stone remain in the Salford squad having featured alongside the 32-year-old for Leigh, whom he went on to win the Challenge Cup with back in August.

Mellor added: “I know a lot of the lads that play here already because I’ve played with a lot of them already, and that’s always good when coming into a new team.

“A lot of the squad are older and more experienced, and so was the Leigh one this year. It was great year, I achieved a lot, and if we could do something like that this year at Salford, then I think everyone would be happy.

“I feel like I’ve still got a lot to give. I am getting older, I know that, but I’m fit, fast and strong. I know what I’m capable of, so hopefully I can fit into this team nicely.”

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