Andy Lynch’s winter arrival in East Yorkshire may not have received the fanfare of Ellis’s signing this week from NRL club Wests Tigers but he has been a key figure in the Black and Whites’ impressive start to the season.
Lynch was part of a winter influx of quality signings at Hull, impressed by the vision and ambition of owner Adam Pearson.
With Australian Peter Gentle taking over from coach Richard Agar, 2012 has been the start of a new era with Lynch leading the way as captain.
For 32-year-old prop Lynch that meant ending a six-year stay at Bradford Bulls, where he racked up over 200 appearance for the Odsal club.
After the opening six games of the 2012 season, Hull have tasted defeat just once, have the best defence in Super League – a miserly 88 points conceded – and have a game in hand over leading trio Huddersfield Giants, Warrington and Wigan.
Lynch believes the signing of Ellis – who was being courted by the majority of clubs in Super League, including Leeds, St Helens and Huddersfield – adds weight to his belief that exciting times are on the horizon at the KC Stadium.
“It’s massive,” said the Leeds-born prop, when reacting to news of Ellis’s forthcoming arrival. “A big boost for the club and it shows which direction the club wants to go in. It’s a boost for the players and fans.
“I think there were a fair few clubs, probably most Super League clubs, so the club must have sold the vision of the future and Gareth wants to be part of that. He’s probably looking forward to being part of that.
“Adam (Pearson) showed what he wanted to do with the club and you can see that with the coaches and playing staff he has brought in. Gareth has probably seen that, too, and is looking forward to the challenge of coming here.”
Lynch has been joined at Hull this season by Leigh scrum-half Jamie Ellis, Wigan prop Eamon O’Carroll and a trio from Down Under, Wests Tigers full-back Wade McKinnon and New Zealand Warriors duo Aaron Heremaia and Brett Seymour.
Lynch is set for a personal double-header as he comes up against his two former Super League clubs. First he takes Hull to Castleford Tigers – the club he played with for five years between 1999 and 2004, chalking up 137 appearances – tomorrow, before the Bulls arrive at the KC Stadium five days later.
“I don’t think it could fall any better this week,” said the England and Great Britain international. “Cas and then Bradford, it will be two interesting games and I am looking forward to them both.
“I am good mates with Danny Orr and Brett Ferres at Cas so it will be good to see them and hopefully get two points.
“I was there for seven or eight years at Bradford so it’s going to be a bit strange but at the end of the day it’s just another game and two points we need to get.”
Asked whether he expects a decent reception against his former employers, Lynch responded: “I’m not too sure, to be honest, I hope so.
“It will probably be more when I go to Odsal than at the KC Stadium, that’s the back end of the year when I go there.
“Hopefully, it would be nice to get a good reception but you never know what the fans are thinking. I am happy where I am now so that’s the main thing.
“It’s fantastic here. From the first day, everyone has made me feel so welcome. Not just me, but all the new signings have fitted in really well.
“It’s made it a lot easier, we have had a lot of family days. And it’s not just the coaching staff, the office staff, too, it just makes it a family-friendly club.”
Lynch has had to quickly come to terms with being the elder statesman in the Hull dressing room but is enjoying the challenge of being captain.
“It still feels a bit strange, but I am getting used to it,” said Lynch, whose last outing saw Hull thrash Widnes 58-10 last weekend.
“I keep forgetting when I see all these young lads about, it’s a bit of a reality shock. It was a good win (against Widnes). For 60 minutes, we dominated and I thought we did everything right. The last 20 I felt we got a bit sloppy and let them in for two tries and that was a bit disappointing.”
After grasping the final play-off spot in the top eight last season, Hull’s ambitions this time are higher.
But don’t expect any talk of play-off expectations from inside the Black and Whites dressing room.
“To be honest we have not spoke about where we are going to finish, we are just looking to keep improving every week,” said Lynch. “Get good performances for 80 minutes and then once that’s done we just look at the next week’s game.
“We have not set long-term goals, we just have to concentrate on ourselves for 80 minutes each week, and concentrate on improving.
“At the end of the year, if we have improved enough then we will be there or thereabouts.
“Not in the top eight, hopefully the top four. I don’t even know where we are in the table, and most of the other lads would probably say the same.
“We just need to concentrate on getting two points every week and the rest will take care of itself.”