IT seemed strange that after Alex Mellor’s crucial but unlikely hat-trick, Huddersfield Giants coach Simon Woolford was more pleased with his defensive display – but the player fully understands why.
The impressive second-row scored three tries in Thursday’s 20-18 win over Super League rivals Castleford Tigers but Woolford preferred to hail his forward’s tackling ability.
Mellor, 24, admitted: “He gave me a little bit of a ‘spray’ at the start of the season about my ‘D’.
“I wasn’t up to standard. I knew that, he knew that.
“But we’ve fixed some things up. I’ve put a lot of effort into it.
“I’ve trained hard and I think that’s starting to show with my ‘D’ now and the numbers he gives me.
“That’s an area of my game I really try and work on.”
Mellor admitted his hat-tricks are “few and far between” with his only other treble being for Bradford Bulls during a Championship Shield game against Whitehaven in 2016.
This one was far more important, though, as Huddersfield – who lost their opening four games of the season – dug in to pick up a third win in four outings.
Castleford led four times during the game but Mellor’s third try in the 70th minute was enough to earn Giants the victory.
He gave me a little bit of a ‘spray’ at the start of the season about my ‘D’.Alex Mellor
“It’s a huge two points, for us,” said the Halifax-born forward, who joined Huddersfield when Bulls were liquidated in 2017.
“It’s massive. It really lifts all the boys after a very tough start and some really hard-fought games the last couple of weeks.
“That’s especially so after losing out in similar circumstances (17-16) at Wakefield last Friday.
“That really hurt us with 10 minutes to go so it was such a sweet feeling to come out on top in this. We’ve had a few wins now and when we look at the table we’re not actually too far off.
“Hopefully that’ll stand us in good stead for the season and next we’ll look forward to going to Leeds and facing Rhinos on Good Friday.”