Leigh swoop for former Saints half-back

Leigh have signed former St Helens junior Jamie Ellis on a 12 month contract.

Ellis, 21, made three appearances for Saints and was part of their first team squad last season, although he didn’t make an appearance in 2010.

The half-back turned professional when he was 16, having joined the club from Chorley Panthers and impressing on a tour of Australia.

Leigh Head Coach Ian Millward said: “He’s a very talented young player but he needs to get out of Reserve Grade competition and start mixing it with elder people and also start steering more senior players around the park. He’s pretty chunky, very much in the Kieron Cunningham mould, quite tall for a halfback. He has a good kicking game on him. He’s a kid with good credentials and for the next twelve months it’s about Jamie becoming a better organising player. He’s a player for the English game of the future.”

Ellis had an injury disrupted 2010 which restricted him to just three appearances and a couple of friendlies which included a try scoring run-out against Widnes in January. Before being ruled out, he scored a try and landed 15 goals for the Saints Under-20s team.

“It’s a coup,” Millward continued, “because he’s talented, and keep in mind that last year Tim Hartley was finished for the season very early with an injury. That meant we only had Martyn Ridyard and Robbie Paul, and they both carried injuries for the second half of the year.”

“It was one of the reasons why we weren’t as consistent during the second half of the year.”

“What I’ve tried to do is bolster the squad in the halves by bringing Anthony Nicholson into the top squad to replace Dave McConnell and then bringing in Jamie on top of that.”

“There will be more competition, more depth and better quality there. It’s a pretty good signing for us. Jamie wanted to come with us for twelve months to improve his game. He wasn’t looking at going to another Super League club, he wanted to play week in, week out. He had Kyle Eastmond and Leon Pryce in front of him, but we are really pleased to get him on board. He’s training with us and we are really happy with how he is progressing.”

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