TWO-TRY Alex Mellor believes his Huddersfield Giants side may have “under-estimated” Salford Red Devils having wasted a perfect chance to rack up back-to-back wins.
The 22-year-old, playing his first home match for the West Yorkshire club since joining from Bradford Bulls last month, saw both his efforts in vain as they fell 30-20 on Thursday.
Mellor’s impressive double had seen Huddersfield recover from 16-4 down early in the second period to trail just 22-20 at one point.
With Danny Brough pulling the strings, they seemed set to complete the recovery only to make a raft of errors and defensive mistakes to give Salford a reprieve.
Huddersfield have the chance to quickly atone, however, with Wakefield Trinity arriving on Friday and Mellor says it is imperative they do.
“It’s massively important,” he told The Yorkshire Post.
“I think we’ve just got to not under-estimate anyone.
“We might have been a little bit guilty of that tonight thinking we had a good performance in round one (a win at Widnes) and could just come here and roll these.
“Every game is a tough game in this league and we have to take a mentality into next week to know we need to perform the best we can to beat whoever that team is.
“I thought when we came back in the second half against Salford we had a great chance of winning the game.
“We missed a couple of chances, there was a couple of defensive errors and a few from myself that I’m not too happy with.
“But they are things we can put right and performances we can make better to put games away like that.”
Halifax-born Mellor is ordinarily a back-row but can comfortably fill in at centre as he did with some success on Thursday
Admittedly, he was at fault for one of Gareth O’Brien’s brace of tries but scored two himself – his first in Super League – and looked a strong presence. Mellor linked well with Brough, too, and admitted: “Broughy’s class. He makes my job a lot easier.
“Some of the stuff he does I can’t even predict what he’s going to do. It’s great.
“It’s great playing outside Fergie (Dale Ferguson), too.
“I’ve known him a long time and I think we have a good bond; Fergie makes me look a better player.”
Back-row Ferguson is one of five players to have joined from Bradford for 2017, two of whom – Mellor and hooker Adam O’Brien – only joined after the Bulls were liquidated last month.
As one of their most talented young players, Mellor was always likely to attract suitors and he is glad his future now sorted after months of fear and uncertainty.
“Obviously, I was devastated about what happened at Bradford,” said the tall player, who made more than 50 appearances for the Bulls having progressed through their academy and debuted in Super League as early as 2013.
“A lot of my mates were out of a job and uncertain about things.
“I got lucky but it’s been a great move for me and I’m really enjoying my time at Huddersfield.
“I’m here for three years so am really happy about that and looking to see what I can do this season.”
It remains to be seen where head coach Rick Stone will chiefly play him but what is the Yorkshireman’s favoured position?
“I’d be happy with either,” insisted Mellor, who slotted in at centre with Lee Gaskell utilised at full-back.
“I like back-row and I’m starting to like centre as I become more knowledgeable.
“There’s a few defensive decisions I have to work on and a little bit of knowledge about playing that position I need to learn.”
Stone’s verdict on a defeat to open the home campaign was measured.
“Any time you lose, it’s disappointing,” he said. “I thought our effort in the second half was great.
“We had some momentum to win the game but probably didn’t stay as composed as we needed to be. Sometimes when you’re chasing points, there’s a bit of panic and I think there was a bit of that.
“We tried hard and kept coming back but the opposition kept firing bullets, too. It was a decent contest. We just got beat by a hungrier team, to be honest.
“Full credit goes to the opposition, they deserved to win.”