Ellis: Hull’s pack can play

Gareth Ellis says Hull FC’s forward pack aren’t just big and physical but can play a bit as well.

The battle between the Black and Whites’ pack and that of Warrington will be crucial in determining the winner of Saturday’s Challenge Cup final.

Hull FC’s forward power with the likes of locals Scott Taylor, Danny Houghton, Liam Watts, Chris Green and Josh Bowden, combined with the Antipodean presence of Sika Manu, Frank Pritchard and Mark Minichiello, has rightly received plenty of praise this year. 

Ellis respects the Wire forwards but wants to make sure his teammates don’t go into their shells at Wembley, and remember to use their brain as well as brawn in the capital.

Daryl Clark is a real threat for them, he’s really important from dummy half and something we’ll definitely have to keep an eye on,” the veteran told Love Rugby League.

“But it’s been a real good battle up front in terms of the forwards and I think we’re at our best when we play a little bit.

“Everyone talks about how big we are but we’re at our best when we play our game, we play rugby league and that’s when were at our best.

“In big games like this it’s very tempting to go into your shell because your scared to make mistakes.

“I think I’ve probably done it in the past and that’s certainly something that I’ll be trying to get across to our players is to try to go out there and play, do the things that have got us here and got us the success so far this year.”

At 35 years of age and with nearly 380 games under his belt, Ellis is the elder statesman of this Hull FC side.

The club’s captain has twice played in Challenge Cup finals before and twice lost – with Leeds in 2005 and then with the Airlie Birds in 2013.

Ellis is desperate to make it third time lucky in the Challenge Cup final and finally hold that trophy aloft.

“It’s been disappointing but a little bit different losses as well, the first one I was at Leeds against Hull and we probably went into that game the favourites and obviously missed out,” he said.

“It was my first final so I was probably a bit young and a felt a bit spoilt by it really, because I thought they were going to come around left, right and centre.

“But obviously it was a while till the next one in 2013. To be fair we were underdogs and rightly so.

“We weren’t having as good a year as we are this year and I think that’s probably the difference to us going into this game is just how confident we are in what were doing and how we’ve been playing.”

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