Ellis eyes front-row move

Hull FC skipper Gareth Ellis envisages playing more in the front-row this year with the strengthening of the club’s forward pack in the off-season.

The Airlie Birds have a huge amount of options in the back-row in 2016 with the likes of Frank Pritchard, Sika Manu, Mark Minichiello, Jansin Tugut, Jack Downs, Brad Fash, Danny Washbrook, Dean Hadley and Jordan Abdull all pushing for three starting spots.

Ellis has played most of his career as a second-rower and loose-forward, but is expecting to spend more time as a prop in the months ahead.

“Yeah certainly, I think I’ll be hovering around the middle section, blowing out my backside a bit more often than I have done in the past,” he joked.

“Again that’s an exciting challenge, you don’t get that many challenges when you get to my age.

“So to have that sort of change of role, that’s something I’ll need to learn.

“It might take a little while to adapt to but I probably see myself playing some part on the edge, some part in the middle, it’s just getting up to speed.

“The pack that we’ve got is pretty enormous so we need to use that to our advantage.”

Ellis turns 35 in May and has been out of action for some time with an Achilles injury.

The forward is expected to be back fully fit in the first couple rounds of Super League, potentially after the World Club Series

“It’s been a long off-season for me, mine started in July time last year,” Ellis said.

“It’s been a long recovery program, but it’s been pretty sailing. Physically I feel pretty good now and ready to go.

“Without a doubt I’m itching to get back. I really enjoyed my rugby last year. I felt like I was almost playing as well as I have for a long, long time.

“It sort of rekindled that fire to play the game, even at 34 years old. And the lay-off that I’ve had has certainly left me with a burning desire to get out there and make a difference.

“With this team that we’ve put together… it would be nice to be a part of it.”

Ellis said top four has to be the goal for Hull FC this year.

“That has to be the goal,” he said.

“It showed last year that if you’re not in that top four, five when the Super 8s came around you were cut adrift and you were almost playing for your own pride really.

“That’s not a good scenario for anyone really, the players, the coaching staff, the club as a whole.”

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