Going into the final year of your contract as a rugby league player is always a daunting event.
Though some players try and hide behind the fact they aren’t nervous, a number of stars whose contracts are ending in 2022 have been open and honest about their situation going forward.
One of those is Leeds Rhinos’ Alex Mellor, whose three-year deal that he signed ahead of the 2020 Super League season runs out at the end of 2022.
“I think anyone would be lying if they said that they didn’t think about being out of contract,” Mellor told Serious About Rugby League.
“It’s on your mind but for me it’s motivation that I have to be at my best and to have prepared to the best level possible to take the stress out of the situation.
“Before when I was out of contract at Huddersfield I found it really stressful and put loads of pressure on myself every week and it didn’t help me, so this time I’m going to learn from that and just take each game as it comes.”
The 27-year-old is, however, determined to win silverware and be the best that he can possibly be.
“The goals I set myself are to win trophies – that’s how I prepare all pre-season and what gets you through sessions knowing that you’re making yourself the best you can possibly be in order to try achieve this.
“Also I want to be the best at whatever I do. I always end up competing with people at all sorts of different things and always try strive to be better than what I was previously and better than the people I’m competing against.”
For Mellor, it will be a case of trying to compete against the likes of James Bentley and Rhyse Martin for those two second-row spots, the former whom has taken Mellor’s number 11 shirt for 2022.
Someone who does his job well and does all the little things that no fan really sees clearly went down well with the Rhinos who snapped the ex-Bradford Bulls forward on a three-year deal ahead of the 2020 season.
And, now Mellor has spoken about his experiences at Bradford and Huddersfield, his two previous clubs where he made just short of 100 appearances.
“I loved it at both clubs,” Mellor told Serious About Rugby League.
“Bradford was somewhere that I thought I would stay but the troubles that went on there sort of forced a few of us into leaving.
“The lads at both clubs were great and I really enjoyed the experience at both.”
In fact, the 27-year-old impressed so much for Huddersfield, scoring 19 tries in 79 appearances over a three-year period, that a number of clubs came in for him.
Headingley was, however, too good to turn down.
“I had a few clubs that wanted to sign me but Leeds was the place that I wanted to be at and as soon as the terms were confirmed we went ahead and signed the deal pretty much that day.
“It’s a club that I’ve always admired and it was such an honour to sign at such a great club.”