Leeds Rhinos: Old Boy Ellis wary of a backlash from the Rhinos

OLD BOY Gareth Ellis expects Leeds Rhinos to find their feet sooner rather than later.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 8th March 2019, 5:04 am
Gareth Ellis after Hull FC's Super League semi-final defeat at Leeds Rhinos in 2017.
Gareth Ellis after Hull FC's Super League semi-final defeat at Leeds Rhinos in 2017.

The Hull forward is set to face his former club at KCOM Stadium tonight in the third match of his playing comeback.

He has yet to taste defeat since dusting off his boots last month, but reckons Leeds will be fired up to bring their recent poor run to an end.

Rhinos have won only one of their opening five games, but Ellis warned: “The thing with Leeds is they have some real quality players and they’ve added to that with the likes of Konrad Hurrell and Trent Merrin.

Danny McGuire consoles Gareth Ellis after the Super League semi-final in 2017.

“It does take a bit of time to settle in and get used to playing Super League, especially the conditions this time of year compared to what it’s like back in Australia.

“I expect them to bed in eventually, but with all the games I’ve played for Hull against Leeds they have always turned up and given us a tough game particularly at the KCOM. We’re expecting that team. They copped some criticism last week so we expect some reaction from that.”

Ellis hung up his boots after Hull lost at Leeds in a 2017 Betfred Super League semi-final.

His return, aged 37, inspired a golden-point victory at Wigan Warriors which ended Hull’s 13-match losing run and he was also part of the side which beat Huddersfield Giants last time out.

Hull FC's Gareth Ellis in action against Wigan.

“To think 18 months on from that [semi-final] I’m out there playing against them once more, it is quite surreal really,” he admitted.

“The important thing for us is to concentrate on ourselves and get focused and mentally prepared.

“That’s the main thing, ultimately as a team that’s what makes a big difference. We’re aware of Leeds’ strengths and weaknesses, but we have to stay focused ourselves to keep this momentum going.”