Ellis back to where he left off in Hull opening day bow

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Gareth Ellis’s first Super League appearance after four years mastering Australia will, intriguingly, be back at his former club and current champions Leeds Rhinos.

Ambitious Hull FC won the race to sign the much-coveted England second-row after he announced earlier this year he wanted to return home following his excellent stint with Wests Tigers.

Ellis, 31, agreed a lucrative three-year deal to join the big-spending side who are hoping to finally make their mark in 2013.

In doing so, he turned down the chance to rejoin Leeds with whom he won two Super League titles before heading to Sydney at the end of 2008 – and almost every other club in the top flight.

But Ellis has an instant return to Headingley Carnegie where he will make his full Black and Whites debut in early February.

The full Super League fixture list is not released until Monday morning but clubs agreed to yesterday offer a glimpse of what is to come by revealing their opening home game only.

Leeds coach Brian McDermott admitted: “I’ve got to be honest, I’ve not given the fixtures too much of a run at the moment.

“But I had a look at the drafts and there’s a few interesting opening games.

“Hull beat us last year at their place so that’s something I’m sure we’ll have on our minds.

“They’ve recruited well and got some big boys there with Gareth Ellis obviously the main name.

“That will be a big one for the start of next season.”

Another tasty game for the opening weekend will see Huddersfield Giants visit St Helens, producing a quick reunion for the West Yorkshire club and Nathan Brown, the coach they sacked in July and who takes charge of Saints for the first time.

Other opening fixtures see Francis Cummins start his reign as Bradford Bulls head coach with the visit of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats while Hull KR host Catalan Dragons and Castleford Tigers head to Warrington Wolves.

In round two, Leeds face a West Yorkshire derby at Castleford, Hull host Bradford, Hull KR are at Wakefield and Huddersfield entertain London Broncos.

Leeds have confirmed that England international Danny McGuire has signed a new contract until the end of 2015.

The scrum-half, who turns 30 next month, has won six Grand Finals with his home-town club and now seems likely to see out his glittering career at Headingley.

McGuire came through the Academy system at Leeds to establish himself as one of the modern-day greats and last season became Super League’s all-time leading try-scorer with his total standing at 201.

His previous deal was due to expire next year but Rhinos swiftly moved to tie him down further.

McDermott described him as a “unique talent” and added: “We are very privileged to have him play his entire career at Leeds.

“We’ve all been guilty at times of perhaps taking him for granted because he performs at such a high level every time he steps on the field. But his value to this side is never underestimated.”

Don’t miss Sports Monday for a full Super League fixtures list for our Yorkshire clubs.

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