Having firmly settled into life at Wigan Warriors, overseas ace Kaide Ellis is enjoying some of the best form of his career, and ahead of tonight’s Grand Final, he told Love Rugby League that being able to silence his critics has been a big driving factor in that.
The New South Wales-born prop moved to the DW Stadium from down under last year, joining the Cherry and Whites from NRL outfit St George Illawarra.
Having lifted the Challenge Cup in his first season on English soil, tonight the powerhouse will step out at Old Trafford for the Super League Grand Final against Catalans Dragons.
To get here, Matt Peet’s men won all nine of their last regular season games in Super League, as well as last Saturday’s home semi-final against Hull KR, breezing past the Robins with a 42-12 winning margin and looking rampant.
‘I definitely did take it personally’: Wigan Warriors ace Kaide Ellis on silencing critics
Ellis – who penned a long-term contract extension to remain at Wigan until the end of 2026 back in July – spoke exclusively to Love Rugby League in the build-up to this evening’s showpiece at the Theatre of Dreams.
The 27-year-old said: “I think we copped a bit of unfair criticism earlier in the year with people saying that we didn’t have the pack or the size, or even the talent there.
“It always annoyed me to be honest, I took it personally and I know that the other boys did as well, whether they read into it or not.
“I think the first year, I was a bit up and down in terms of form and things like that, but I knew that was always going to be the case because you’ve got to find your feet a little bit, get used to your surroundings so you can definitely benefit from that.
“I’m looking forward to proving people wrong, and hopefully I already have. We’ve showed that we are a good pack, and we’ve lost three or four of our best players.
“That just goes to show the strength of us, I suppose. I’d probably put that down to why my own form has kicked on a little bit as well, because I know I wasn’t happy about that to be honest. I definitely did take it personally.”
Overseas star credits Wigan staff for filling him with confidence
Tonight’s showdown with Catalans will be a 48th Warriors appearance for ex-Penrith Panthers ace Ellis, and a 25th this term.
There would definitely have been more on that tally too had he not been sidelined for a month with a hamstring injury picked up in training.
Nonetheless, having starred in Wigan’s last six games, the forward has explained just how those around him are helping him into some career-best form.
He continued: “I’m happy where I’m at, I’m really enjoying the rugby side of it. That’s just the game at the end of the week though, and the lead up to it is the training sessions with a good group and a good vibe.
“I have to give credit to the coaches for it, they’re very honest and they’re getting the best out of me. I just feel they’re putting their trust and confidence into me and then come the weekends, there’s no pressure on me at all from them.
“We’re playing free rugby, and I’m doing the things that I do which are run hard and on the flip side in defence hit as hard as I can as well. I’m just all round happy at the moment with where I’m at, and it comes out in the footy I’m playing.
“You always want to get to the big dance, it’s what we all set out to do at the start of the year,. It’s nice to be able to tick this one off at such a big, prestigious stadium, and against such a tough opponent as well. We’ve had good match-ups with Catalans all year, so it’s set out for a good ending.”