Gareth Ellis – We all wanted to play Halifax but Hull FC face familiar foes

Hull's players celebrate Jamie Shaul's try in their Challenge Cup win over Catalans Dragons.
Hull's players celebrate Jamie Shaul's try in their Challenge Cup win over Catalans Dragons.
0
Have your say

IT’S familiar territory for us getting Warrington Wolves in the Challenge Cup.

At Hull FC we have some recent history with them and I don’t just mean when we won the 2016 final.

Getting a Championship side is not always good news; I remember in 2005 with Leeds when I don’t think we played a Super League side all the way to the final.

Gareth Ellis

We also beat them in the 2013 semi-final so we’ve been lucky enough to come out on top in both of those.

Beating them in Super League a few weeks ago will give us a bit of confidence as well and we’re looking forward to taking them on again for a place at Wembley.

With the greatest of respect, when the draw was made last night I think all the Super League sides were hoping to get Halifax – the one Championship side – in the semis.

Obviously St Helens have been drawn against them after Halifax’s great win over Bradford Bulls.

But getting a Championship side is not always good news; I remember in 2005 with Leeds when I don’t think we played a Super League side all the way to the final.

We beat Toulouse in the semis, but then got beat by Hull at Cardiff who, I think, had Super League opposition all the way; sometimes the tougher route hardens you up.

At Hull the players and staff are all bemused again with us coming up with that massive 51-8 win over Catalans – a side who had lost just once in the last seven and sit third in the table – less than a week after conceding 55 at Magic.

For us, a 100-point swing in those two displays typifies where we are right now; when we’re on potentially one of the best teams in the league and when we’re off one of the worst.

We’re still in a good position, though; in the Challenge Cup semis and fourth in Super League.

I’m pleased for Halifax; it is great reward for the players and their fans to play in the Cup semi-final – it will be a great day out for them – and they really earned it with that fine win over Bradford. Saints obviously got into the Cup semis with a comprehensive victory over Wakefield Trinity on Saturday.

They are red-hot right now and, clearly, the team to beat at the moment.

A few weeks ago I would have said Saints and Warrington, but now it’s clear Saints are the runaway best team in the country.

They are playing with such confidence and such resilience and you can see they are all wanting to play for each other; they will be a tough nut to crack.

It will be interesting to see if they can maintain this level of performance all the way through with no blips.

They were there or thereabouts last year and didn’t get either trophy while Warrington reached both finals, but came away with nothing.

It shows you can be top all 
year and then miss out in a couple of games or even one 80 minutes.

I think the rest of the sides in the comp are clinging onto that thought.