Gareth Ellis: I'll leave legacy at Hull FC
GARETH Ellis says he wants to help Hull FC's rising stars become the spine of the side for years to come and leave a lasting legacy for the Black and Whites.
Ellis was described as the biggest signing in the club's history when he signed for the Black and Whites on a three-year deal last March.
But preparing to make his Super League debut alongside a host of other big-name signings next week at former club Leeds, Ellis insists it is the young players at the club, and not the old heads, who are most important.
"I suppose a lot of the talk has been about the signings made and the new players who have come in, but really the foundations of the club in years to come depend upon the conveyor belt of young players," Ellis told the Mail.
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"Players come and go, especially the Australians and Kiwis, but look at Leeds and the local players they brought through over the years, they have been the spine of the side.
"They had the likes of Rob Burrow, Kevin Sinfield and Ryan Hall all come through the system, and they added to them with quality players from the outside. Hull should not be any different."
The Black and Whites blooded a number of young stars last season in the midst of an injury crisis.
It saw the likes of props Chris Green and Josh Bowden and backs Ben Crooks and Tom Lineham impress at Super League level.
And Ellis now hopes he can influence them to push their careers forward.
"I'm not the sort of player to go around saying 'I am Gareth Ellis and I played in the NRL', that's not what it is about," said Ellis.
"My role is about telling young players what is right. That is the responsibility I carry.
"You can have a great future in rugby league, and to be a young lad it is easy to get caught up in the wrong stuff with your mates. There is a good career out there if young players do the right things. There is a responsibility on me to make sure the players here go down the right road.
"My message to them is to be good people. That is a good thing to be, aside from rugby league, as being a good person can take you far.
"That is as important as anything. If they work hard and become good professionals, they can make their own career choices down the line."
With Super League increasingly putting a focus on clubs developing young, English talent, Ellis feels both FC and Hull KR have the benefit of a thriving local rugby league community to build from.
"When I was growing up as a young lad in Castleford, playing for Lock Lane, we used to come to Hull and they had such good local players," he said.
"The talent is here in the city, it's about nurturing them through and it's about building a club that's not just a flash in the pan over the next couple of years, but one that will be one of the top clubs for years to come.
"That's what happened at Leeds when I was there, and that's what we should be striving to achieve here at Hull."