Jamie Ellis has admitted he snatched at the chance to return to Castleford last week, after at one stage in his career believing that he would never again play for the club he supported as a boy.
The halfback has re-joined the club for a second spell, three years after leaving the Tigers to join Huddersfield in pursuit of regular first-team action.
However, the arrival of Rick Stone at Huddersfield saw him fall out of favour at the Giants and he spent last year in the Championship, despite having a contract with the Giants until the end of the 2019 season. After helping the Robins return to Super League, the halfback was considering a number of options for 2018, including an extended stay at Hull Kingston Rovers.
However, speaking to League Express, he insisted there was only one place he was going to go once Castleford came calling. “I went on holiday with my family and I got the call that Castleford were interested,” Ellis told League Express.
“There was nowhere else I wanted to be other than Castleford after that. I love the club, I’ve got loads of mates there and I couldn’t wait to sign.
“I had the chance to stay when I left, but I got an offer at Huddersfield and Paul Anderson said I’d get the seven shirt and play regularly. But I can’t wait to get back now. I want to be in the big games and to get to a Grand Final or Wembley again.
“I didn’t think I’d get the chance to go back there, but when they came in I didn’t want to do anything else and I’m just over the moon to be back.”
Ellis has been inundated with offers ahead of 2018, but he admitted that, initially, he expected to remain in east Hull next year. “I got promoted with Hull KR and I thought I’d probably stay there,” he said.
“That’s what I had my eyes on, but I don’t think Huddersfield and Hull KR could come to an agreement (on a transfer fee). I didn’t get into it, to be honest. The two clubs just couldn’t come to an agreement and nothing was really happening. I had a few offers from other places, so I set my sights on them, but after Castleford came in that was all I had my eyes on.”
“Wakefield was one major offer. Then there were a few others who showed interest but didn’t put anything on the table, like Leigh and Widnes, so nothing really come of it. But when Castleford came calling it was all irrelevant anyway.”
The near inevitable loss of Zak Hardaker to suspension has added an element of uncertainty to Daryl Powell’s recruitment plans ahead of the new campaign. But Ellis gave the biggest indicator yet that he has been brought in as the former Man of Steel’s replacement.
“I don’t think it’s for me to give it away, but I think they’re considering playing Ben Roberts at fullback and me and Galey in the halves,” he said. “But there are some good young halves coming through at Castleford so I’m going to have to work hard in pre-season to secure a place.”
Ellis also had his say on his Huddersfield exit. After being allowed out on loan by Rick Stone this year, the offer was there to return to the Giants this season. However, he admitted that wasn’t his preferred choice. “I could have gone back to Huddersfield,” he said.
“But just the fact they let me go out on loan made me feel that I wasn’t wanted and it would have just felt a bit weird to return there.”