Warrington alumnus Kevin Ellis tells Super League Super Men how his rugby league dreams came true.
Last Updated: 16/08/12 10:20am
Kevin Ellis grew up dreaming of playing for his country. It was a dream that came true, though not in the team he had originally aspired to join.
Born in a hospital a punt away from Bridgend Rugby Club, union was part of his DNA, and the ground was his nursery. But although his sights were set on wearing the half back red jersey of the Welsh national side, another club had set its sights on him.
He's open about why he agreed to join Warrington, crossing the divide from union to league. The financial rewards were too great to turn down.
In this week's Super League Super Men he recalls winning the Man of the Match trophy in a union cup final and opening his prize envelope to find £20 and beer tickets. In league he found a game he loved to play and rewards for doing just that.
He signed a five-year-deal with Warrington and 'loved every minute of it'. It wasn't long before his skills caught the eye of Malcolm Reilly, the Great Britain coach and a year later (1991) he made his first appearance for GB against Papua New Guinea before going on to win 15 caps for Wales.
Despite his time at Warrington, in Australia (playing for the Gold Coast Chargers) and a short spell in Workington, his heart has always been in the valleys of Wales, and he was one of the pivotal characters in the establishment of Bridgend Blue Bulls RL club, which eventually led to the creation of South Wales' first Super League franchise, the Celtic Crusaders.
Here he tells of his dreams for the club and tries to explain why - with hindsight of course - the franchise was ultimately doomed.
Still within sight of that same hospital, the Bridgend Rugby Club no longer plays host to league, but it will always be special for Kevin.
In its club house along one wall is a huge frieze featuring Welsh sporting stars like John Toshack, Joe Calzaghe and Ryan Giggs. In among them is a grinning picture of Kevin Ellis, proudly wearing his international jersey.
His dream came true - in the code of rugby league.