Ellis in Allstars contention

Gareth Ellis could be set to take his place alongside superstars Darren Lockyer, Billy Slater and Cameron Smith if he makes the cut for the NRL ‘Allstars’ squad.

Ellis, 29, missed last year’s allstars clash due to the birth of his son Isaac but is in contention for this year’s clash against the Indigenous Allstars on February 12.

He will battle it out with fellow Wests Tigers Chris Lawrence, Robbie Farah and Lote Tuqiri for his place in the squad.

“If anyone had told me a few years ago that I would get to play alongside Darren Lockyer and some of the other NRL superstars like Cameron Smith and Billy Slater (injured for 2011 event) I would have laughed at them,” he said.

“Im used to chasing them around rather than playing along with them.

“It’s a fantastic concept … not just for the footy side of things but the community aspect also.”

Selection to play (for the second time) would be a reflection of how far the Englishman has come as a player (and how hard he has worked) and the impact he has had on and off the field with Australian fans since his “sink or swim” inaugural season in 2009.

“It’s been good for me to come out here and be challenged week in, week out,” Ellis said.

“It has made me a better player; a more rounded player. Now I look forward to internationals. I’m not daunted by them because I am playing against the best in the world every week.

Interestingly, Ellis has given his backing to the RFL’s recently announced fixture between England and a Super League ‘Allstars’ team.

“The mid-season Test against France was not as competive as we needed,” Ellis said.

“An All Stars match would be a great challenge.

“The more of those sort of games that the younger players in the squad play in the better. They need to be consistently tested.

“The strength of the competition in the NRL is what makes Australia and New Zealand so strong … they are tested consistently every week.

Super League is not at that level yet. Only 5-6 teams are really competitive. The others are a little behind.”

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