HULL CAPTAIN Gareth Ellis wants to wipe away one of the worst memories of his career when he makes a playing return to Headingley Carnegie tomorrow.
Ellis had been due to make his Super League comeback – after four seasons with Australian club Wests Tigers – away to Leeds Rhinos last year, but missed the game after being injured in the warm-up.
The ex-Leeds second-row admitted that experience was a “disaster” and it has made him even more determined to produce a big performance against Rhinos tomorrow night.
“I still speak to a few of the lads and we remain good friends,” said Ellis, who made 109 Super League appearances for Leeds from 2005-2008.
“I won two Grand Finals with Leeds and I am really looking forward to going back and playing.
“It was disastrous last year, but I made a lot of friends on the field there and a lot off it as well and it is a special place for me.
“I am looking forward to getting back there and I’m really excited about playing there for the first time since I left. I loved it at Leeds, it was fantastic. It was only really the lure of Australia that took me away. I have really fond memories of my time there.”
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Rhinos are looking to return to winning ways after last Saturday’s 18-14 defeat by Wigan Warriors.
They are a point clear at the top of the table, despite that loss and Ellis said: “They have been outstanding.
“They have been playing some really good rugby and you can tell everyone’s playing with energy and they are all on board with what they are doing.
“They are playing a brand of rugby that suits them and it is fantastic to watch.”
Hull have won just one of their last five matches, at home to bottom club London Broncos.
They were beaten 38-24 by Hull KR at the Magic Weekend, but Ellis reckons they can shock the current league leaders.
“We showed a lot of character on Sunday and that’s something that’s been missing in recent weeks,” said Ellis.
“We struggled at times, it was a bit messy, but the character was there. We probably played better when we were down to 12 men (with Jason Crookes sent-off), but we need to show that spirit right from the off this week.
“Obviously it is going to be a tough game, but we have spoken about where we are in the table and how we need to start showing some dogged spirit and fighting spirit.
“We showed that on Sunday and I think it’s a step in the right direction, all be it without us getting the two points, which we would have liked.
“We are showing signs that we’ve got the potential, but it is not happening often enough.
“We are three losses on the bounce now and that’s pretty disappointing.
“It is going to be a tough game this week, but if we get the two points it really could kick-start our season.
“We are in a difficult place at the minute, but hopefully the spirit we’ve got will get us out of this hole we are in.”