HUDDERSFIELD Giants scrum-half Jamie Ellis says the entire squad are aware that livelihoods are now on the line at the troubled West Yorkshire club.
Having finished bottom of Super League, they begin their Qualifiers campaign at top-flight rivals Salford tomorrow, looking to start afresh and avoid any risk of an unthinkable relegation.
However, Ellis admitted to The Yorkshire Post: “We know we’re playing for our jobs.
“That’s the threat we’re under. But we’re playing for a club that’s got a great reputation and needs to be in Super League so we need to stay up for it and its fans, too.
“We’re in a bad situation and we have to play well right from the off of these Qualifiers.
“We’ve had a bad season but that has to be put behind us now and fixed up so we can get out of this.”
Australian coach Rick Stone arrived last month after replacing the sacked Paul Anderson and, Ellis says, has quickly made improvements.
“We’ve got a lot of belief and confidence in the team,” said the former Castleford Tigers and Hull FC player.
“Rick’s come in and done a great job; there’s a lot more intensity in training and he’s really getting the most out of us.
“We’re up for the challenge ahead. It’s going to be a very tough seven games; not one of them will be easy as everyone is fighting to get in Super League.”
Huddersfield do have the knowledge they won at Salford in June, the first game since Anderson left, when Danny Brough’s drop-goal proved the difference in a 31-30 success.
But Ellis, 26, insisted: “They’re a good side and would have made that top eight if not for their points deduction.
“They’ve made some new signings from the NRL, too, in Manly’s Luke Burgess and Feleti Mateo, big lads looking to make an impact.”
Meanwhile, one of those desperate for promotion are Leigh Centurions, the Championship club where Ellis enjoyed a brilliant 2011 after leaving St Helens to earn his second chance at Super League.
“I wouldn’t mind us finishing top and Leigh getting up, too,” he said.
“I’ve never played them since I left so I had an eye on that game straight away.
“I made loads of mates there, love the club and still check out their results.
“I had some great days there but I’m only thinking about Salford for starters.”