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ELLIS SIGNS CONTRACT EXTENSION WITH AIRLIE BIRDS

By Tom Stewart | 20/08/2014

Club Captain Gareth Ellis has become the latest player to pledge his future to the Black and Whites, signing a one year contract extension that keeps him at the KC Stadium until the end of 2016.

The 33-year old has become the lynchpin of Lee Radford’s side in 2014, leading the Airlie Birds from the front with his destructive displays, which has seen him make over 280 carries, 49 tackle busts and 2111 metres.

His eight tries this season also see him sit joint third on Hull's list of top try scorers, whilst his tally of 523 tackles has highlighted his unrivalled work rate in defence that has seen him become a household name in both the NRL and Super League.

With his future tied down to the club, the former England and Great Britain international admits he is thoroughly enjoying his rugby, which might come as a surprise following a difficult season for his side.

"I'm really enjoying my rugby at the moment and love it at the club. I think I have played some of my best rugby in Super League over the last few months and it is just disappointing that it has been able to influence a better year for the team.

“It is obviously pleasing to have my future at the club a little more planned out, because with only a year left on my contract at the age that I am, it is a little bit daunting of what is going to be next.

“So to have been able to secure another year on my contract is a great feeling, and just because it is only one more year it doesn’t mean that’s what I feel I have left, because I feel I can play beyond that."

He continued, "It has been a tough year, but the signs are all there for the club to progress. We have recruited well, the coaching staff are working really hard for us and Adam Pearson remains really committed to the club, so as a player that is what you look out for.

“Hopefully I can repay some of that faith that the club has shown in me by signing me again, and I will look to carry on with my best for the club for years to come."

Since returning to Super League in 2013 from Australian side Wests Tigers to join the Airlie Birds, Ellis has become a firm fans' favourite at the KC Stadium and is being tipped as one of the players potentially in line for this year's Player of the Year Award.

That form has received countless praise from head coach Lee Radford who is preparing to build his new look side around the talismanic back rower in 2015.

He said, "Gareth is a fantastic player and has shown why this season. He is playing some of his best footy and thriving on his role as leader of this group and those efforts have probably deserved much more than how this season has panned out.

"The bloke turns up and trains well. He is honest as a player, honest with himself and with me as a coach and that is why we want him on board. He will be fantastic for the big crop of youngsters we have coming through and has shown what it takes to be a world class back rower for the best side of ten years.

"Gareth sees what we're trying to achieve here. He was involved in the group of Leeds player to come through together that become the back bone of their success for the next ten years, like Jamie Jones-Buchannan, Kevin Sinfield, Rob Burrow and Danny McGuire.

"In 2003, they were heavily criticised when they were beaten by Bradford Bulls in the cup final, but look what they want on to achieve - numerous cup and grand final appearances.

“With the young talent that we have in our squad like Jamie Shaul, Tom Lineham, Joe Westerman, Liam Watts, Dean Hadley, Jordan Rankin and the rest, that is what we're striving for and Gaz wants to play his part in that.

"To have players like that and Leon Pryce and Marc Sneyd playing behind a pack that includes Gaz and players like Mark Minichiello , it will make a big difference for us. They are going to be the nucleus of our side next season and together they will be a real handful.

On further business, Radford also added, "Our recruitment isn't done yet, we still have a little bit of work to do internally and have our eyes set on one, possibly two more new recruits to come into the club.

"We are talking to the players about joining the club which has so far been positive and we'll see where that takes us."

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