Ellis excited by the lure of the Challenge Cup
Hull FC captain Gareth Ellis is primed and ready to hit the Wembley trail when he makes his long-overdue Tetley’s Challenge Cup ‘debut’ against his former club Wakefield Trinity Wildcats on Friday night (8.00).
Ellis tasted Super League action for the first time this year in Hull FC’s 48-12 victory over London last week and having come through the match in good health, is relishing the cut and thrust of a Challenge Cup fifth round tie.
The England international was sidelined by a foot injury sustained in the warm up on the opening day of the season, leading to a frustrating few months out for a player who joined Hull FC at the end of 2012 after a successful four-year stint in the NRL with Wests Tigers.
“It was great to be playing again and fantastic to get the reception I did from the passionate Hull FC fans,” said Ellis.
“I’ve been lucky with injury throughout my career and that made the last few months all the more frustrating. Thankfully that period is behind me now and I’m looking to kick on.
“The Challenge Cup is unique and it’s going to be a special match for me on Friday. When I was considering all my options in Sydney, the chance to play in a Challenge Cup final at Wembley was something that helped sway my decision to come back to England.
“I was lucky enough to play at Wembley with England in the Four Nations in 2011 and it’s an incredible venue. To lead out Hull FC in August would be an amazing experience but that’s not something that anyone here is talking about right now.
“There’s a lot of rugby to be played between now and then and we know we are going to have to be at the top of our game against a Wakefield team which is in good form at the moment.”
Wakefield will head for the KC Stadium buoyed by an impressive 30-12 defeat of Catalan Dragons on Sunday and Ellis is acutely aware how much an extended Cup run will mean to his old club.
“I started my career at Wakefield and know from experience that the Challenge Cup will be a massive target for everyone at the club,” said Ellis, who spent five years at Belle Vue before joining Leeds Rhinos in 2005.
“They’re a very well drilled team and we know they will come to the KC in determined mood with a strong following. It would be great to see as many Hull FC there as possible to join us on what we hope will be a very special journey.”
Tickets for the 2013 Tetley’s Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday August 24 are now on sale from just £21. Visit www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk or call 0844 856 1113 for full details.