Wests Tigers legend Gareth Ellis becomes first NRL player to play professionally in four different decades

BY CURTIS WOODWARD

@woodward_curtis

Wests Tigers legend Gareth Ellis has become the first NRL player to play professionally across four different decades after the 38-year-old Hull FC stalwart ran out for the English Super League club against Leeds last weekend.

Ellis debuted for Wakefield in 1999 playing 114 games for the Wildcats before transferring to the Rhinos where he enjoyed four successful seasons including a World Club Championship and appearances in Grand Finals and Challenge Cup Finals.

The Castleford Lock Lane junior then agreed to a move to the NRL with Wests Tigers where he became an immediate threat and one of the most-loved players in the club’s history.

A powerful edge-runner and strong defender, Ellis was one of the premier forwards of the competition between 2009 and 2012.

He returned to Hull FC before retiring in 2017.

Due to an injury crisis, Ellis pulled on the boots once more last year and is part of the Hull FC squad again in 2020.

“For the record, if Ellis should be required to soldier on into 2021, playing in February 2021 would see him become Super League’s oldest ever player,” Hull FC historian Bill Dalton told the club’s website.

“But I’m sure we will all forgive him if he decides it is a record he doesn’t want!”

Ellis has played almost 450 top flight games in both Australia and England including 17 caps for Great Britain and 16 for England.

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“I’ve got that passion for the game back,” Ellis said after his first game back last season.

“Whether I’ll have that passion for the game in a day or two’s time I don’t know.

“I really enjoyed it out there and it was nice to get a reminder of how hard it is to play the game.”

@woodward_curtis

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