Gareth Ellis was Hull FC’s saviour, admits Lee Radford

Lee Radford heaped praise on Gareth Ellis, who came out of retirement to help Hull FC register their first win in 14 games.

Ellis laced up his boots for the first time in 18 months on Sunday as he inspired the Black and Whites to a 23-22 golden point victory over Wigan.

The 37-year-old had not played since hanging up his boots at the end of the 2017 season, but Radford was full of praise for the veteran forward after the game.

“It was a typical Gareth Ellis performance,” Radford said. “I think [Gabe] Hamlin ran at him in the first set and probably regretted it.

“What he does in the changing room beforehand and what he says, he picks his words at the right time… You don’t realise how much you miss him until he’s not there.

“To have him there on his 100th game for the club was great. They are calling him the saviour in the sheds.

“We played at Bishop Burton a week ago in a reserves game, but I could hear everyone because you are so close to the touchline there. To listen to his small talk while he’s playing… You can’t teach people that. You either do it or you don’t, but he’s made a career out of doing that and it’s paid dividends.”

When asked if Ellis will play again this year, Radford replied: “I’ve given him by full body massager for tonight so if he pulls alright then we’ll see.”

Hull’s new Fijian recruit Ratu Naulago made his debut for the club and scored two tries in their first win since June 29.

“Ratu came off with cramp, welcome to Super League!” Radford joked.

“He was fantastic. It was his first game of rugby league at the top level. He is a natural rugby league player, he has got that Fijian finesse, so I am really delighted for him.

“He signed during the week and he is left fielder, he has come from nowhere and I am just chuffed for him.

“It was the first golden point of the season. The relief was because of the circumstances, we had no bench left and we had blokes coming of the field left, right and centre.

“They haven’t been far off in round one and two but today they showed some real steel today.”

Next up for Hull is a trip to the John Smith’s Stadium to face Huddersfield Giants next Sunday, 3pm kick-off.

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