Gareth Ellis – I’d love to do a ‘Maggsy’ if I get chance on return to Headinley

in the build-up to the last game I ever played at Headingley in 2017, I remember sneaking off on my own to get a selfie in front of the South Stand.

Danny McGuire applauds the fans at full time following his man-of-the-match performance against Leeds Rhinos for Hull KR.
Danny McGuire applauds the fans at full time following his man-of-the-match performance against Leeds Rhinos for Hull KR.

It was at a press conference a few days before and – before that stand was all torn down – I just wanted to have a picture in front of where I had made so many great memories.

It was an emotional match, first and foremost because it was the play-off semi-finals but also because I knew it’d be my last game for Hull – for anyone – if we lost.

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It was Danny McGuire’s farewell game for Leeds at Headingley, too, so it was emotional. Obviously, we (Hull FC) lost and Leeds won.

I never for one minute thought I’d be going back and playing there again almost two years later but, hopefully, I will on Sunday.

Whereas before it was turning into a construction site, now Headingley is all revamped and it’s exciting to get the chance to play there in those great new facilities.

Danny (McGuire) did likewise on Friday when he went back with Hull KR and obviously had such a brilliant impact as they beat Leeds.

It’s just typical of Maggsy and the sort of player he is and impact he’s had throughout his career that he did that.

I’d love to be able to do the same on Sunday but, in all honesty, having played only 20 minutes in the last nine weeks I’ll be happy just to go out there and get my job done!

The stitches come out on Monday and it’s healed really well so I’m looking forward to being in contention.

There’s always added spice when you go back to your old club and, whether it was your decision or their’s, it’s a case of ‘this is what you’re missing.’

I’m sure Danny will have been thinking that and when the Hull lads were trying to work out who’d win between Leeds and KR, the fact Rovers had four or five former Rhinos players in their ranks, including Matt Parcell, made most think KR would get the win.

Leeds will be desperate now when they face us there on Sunday.

As Lee Radford said, it’s not a happy hunting ground for us at the best of times and I think it’s been about 12 years now since Hull last won there. It’d be nice if we could rectify that this time.

We beat London Broncos on Thursday but we summed up our entire season in that 80-minute performance.

In the first half we were really dominant, very clinical, completing our sets and doing everything right.

We were 34-0 up so the scoreboard showed how well we played. Then we went on to concede 22 points. And all we got was a drop goal!

That gave us something to think about. We’ve been speaking about an 80-minute performance for some time now and we’re still chasing it.

But if you put teams under pressure, make players fatigued, that’s when they make mistakes.

We have to do what we did in the first half against London for two halves.

There’s not much between any players in Super League when they’re fresh. But when they are fatigued, it’s a different matter.

We must make Leeds fatigued.