Salford Red Devils snap up Leigh Leopards veteran: ‘A player we have admired for some time’

Ben Olawumi
Joe Mellor

Joe Mellor in action for Leigh Leopards in 2023 - Alamy

Salford Red Devils have confirmed the signing of veteran Joe Mellor from fellow Super League outfit Leigh Leopards on a two-year deal.

The 32-year-old had been with Leigh for the last three seasons, scoring 22 tries in 71 games. Taking on the role of co-captain ahead of the 2022 campaign, he helped guide the then-Centurions back to Super League as well as lifting the 1895 Cup.

This year, the vast majority of his appearances came off the bench as an interchange, including in the Challenge Cup final against Hull KR at Wembley.

Despite being under contract with the Leopards, the Warrington-born ace has been allowed to move on with a longer-term deal offered by the Red Devils, becoming their eighth new recruit of the off-season on a contract running until the end of the 2025 season.

He follows Nene Macdonald, Cade Cust, Ethan Ryan, Joe Shorrocks, Matty Foster, Kai Morgan and Chris Hankinson in linking up with Paul Rowley’s squad at the Salford Stadium.

Salford Red Devils snap up Leigh Leopards veteran Joe Mellor: ‘A player we have admired for some time’

The half-back – who has also operated as a hooker in recent times – played alongside Salford assistant Krisnan Inu during his first season at Leigh, with Kurt Haggerty involved in the then-Centurions’ coaching staff that same season.

Red Devils chief Rowley told their club website: “It is great to welcome Joe to the group. He is a very established player who has had a consistently positive influence on any team he represents.

“He is highly competitive, he holds himself to high standards and will add greatly to an already excellent group of lads at Salford.

Kurt and Kris have both worked alongside Joe before and have fully re-enforced all the above qualities.”

Mellor – who also featured once as a loanee for London Broncos when the capital outfit were known as ‘Harlequins – came through the ranks with Wigan Warriors and went on to link up with Widnes Vikings on a permanent basis ahead of the 2013 season having previously enjoyed two successful loan stints at the DCBL Stadium.

The veteran accrued a total of 178 Vikings appearances before he departed for  Toronto Wolfpack ahead of the 2019 campaign, forming part of the squad which got the Canadians into Super League before their eventual demise, which led onto him joining Leigh.

Having sealed his signing, Salford’s Director of Rugby and Operations Ian Blease added: “Joe is another great addition to our 2024 squad.

“Joe is a player we have admired for some time. I am really pleased he has chosen to join Salford and I am looking forward to seeing him in the Red Devils shirt this season.”

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