Hull FC skipper Gareth Ellis to retire at end of the season
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 16/08/17 8:01pm
Hull FC captain Gareth Ellis has announced he will retire at the end of the season.
Ellis, 36, who will lead out the Black and Whites for their Challenge Cup trophy defence at Wembley on August 26, made the announcement ahead of his 450th career appearance which comes against Huddersfield on Friday.
"The timing is right. To bow out now while I'm able to contribute wholeheartedly on the field," said the former Leeds, Wakefield and England forward who will stay at Hull and take up an off-field role.
"We're back at Wembley next weekend and in sight of only a second ever Grand Final. I'm determined to finish on a high and I'm dreaming of that fairy-tale finish."
The timing is right. To bow out now while I'm able to contribute wholeheartedly on the field.
Ellis, who will succeed another former player Motu Tony as Hull's football manager from 2018, has enjoyed a glittering 18-year professional career which began in 1999 at Wakefield.
He was part of the Leeds side which clinched back-to-back Super League Grand Final wins and a World Club Challenge triumph before embarking on a successful four-year stint in the NRL with Wests Tigers, where he won the club's player-of-the-year award in each of his first three seasons.
The Black and Whites won the clamour for his signature on his return to Super League in 2013 and last August he became the first Hull FC captain to lift the Challenge Cup at Wembley.
Ellis, who is also closing in on a century of games for Hull, was named in the Super League Dream Team for a fifth time in 2016 and was runner-up to team-mate Danny Houghton for the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award.
Although he has endured a run of injuries for the last two years, Ellis is delighted to be staying with the club.
"Thankfully I have been invited to play a major part in the future success of this ambitious club in the prestigious and demanding role as football manager," he said.
"This decision to call time on my career will ensure my long term future while also acting as a further spur to lead FC to a successive Wembley triumph and onward to the Grand Final for my last ever victory on the field in 2017."
Hull coach Lee Radford said: "It will be disappointing not to have Gareth out there on the football field next season but I'm really excited to have him involved in an off-field role with us.
"He's been absolutely fantastic to work with ever since I came through the door as head coach.
"He's very professional in everything he does and we'll miss him out on the field but with the football manager's role being so important now, it's great that we have someone like himself fulfilling that role.
"We have assured one final but I'd love nothing more than to see him with the Super League trophy raised above his head at Old Trafford in October.
"That's what we're all striving for at the moment and that's the focus for us - to send him out on the highest note possible."