Castleford Tigers enjoyed a terrific start to their preparations for the 2024 season yesterday.
The Tigers defeated Keighley Cougars running in 10 tries including seven in the second half. There were braces for new signings Josh Hodson and Innes Senior as well as a debut try for former Hull FC and St Helens centre Josh Simm who starred on the wing for the Tigers in their new purple and green away kit.
Another new signing was also on the scoresheet in the shape of former Leeds Rhinos and Batley Bulldogs fullback Luke Hooley who kicked seven goals in what was a positive afternoon.
After the Tigers lost star backrower Alex Mellor to injury within the first quarter of the game and he did not return leaving the Tigers sweating over the former Leeds and Huddersfield Giants man’s fitness as the new season looms just a month away.
His injury did lead to a return to the Tigers for former academy player and loanee Luis Johnson who scored after completing his move from Hull KR.
Mellor’s injury could see him start the new season in the back row.
Mellor’s perfect move to Castleford
Alex Mellor made the switch to the Tigers in June 2022 and it’s fair to say the 28-year-old has adapted to his new club seamlessly, as he’s been a mainstay in the Fords pack from day one.
The second row started all eleven contests he was involved in last term, scoring once, and made his presence known from the get-go by forming a formidable partnership in the back row with Kenny Edwards.
Mellor was picked up by Bradford Bulls at academy level. Looking back on the years he spent at Odsal, the Cas man affirmed that despite it being a difficult time behind the scenes, he will always be grateful for the opportunity he was given to make his senior bow.
Mellor would spend three years at Leeds Rhinos as he won the Challenge Cup. It was a contest played behind closed doors due to Covid restrictions, however, Mellor described it as an unforgettable moment and one he is incredibly driven to reach with the Fords in the future.
“I supported Leeds as a kid, so it was a big move and to win the Challenge Cup was massive. It was a weird time because we were all masked up and I think there were only 90 fans there because of the corporate stuff so it was really strange. It was like doing a captain’s run at Wembley Stadium but it was the actual game.
“It was one of the best feelings in my entire life and it was an emotional time but unfortunately none of my family were there. We were straight on the bus after and back up we went but in terms of winning it, it was something that I’d always wanted to do when I was younger so to achieve that was fantastic.
“Winning it was 95% of it but that 5% of not having my family there has made me want to win more because now I have experienced it once I want to achieve that again.”
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