Hull FC coach Lee Radford has admitted that legendary former captain Gareth Ellis is likely to come out of retirement on Sunday and resume his playing career in their trip to Wigan.
Ellis made a cameo appearance in last weekend’s reserves fixture against Wakefield – but on Friday, he was named in the Black and Whites’ 19-man squad for their clash against the reigning champions, 18 months on from his final competitive appearance against Leeds in the 2017 Super League play-offs.
And when asked if Ellis will play some part on Sunday, Radford said: “Yes, I think he’ll play.
“I think he’s ready. We’re in a unique situation with Josh (Bowden), (Chris) Greeny, Lewis (Bienek) and Tag (Scott Taylor) now with his suspension, we’re in a funny situation with regards our go-forward.
“He’s been ticking over with regards training – constantly jumping in and out with the team – and from what I saw on Saturday against Wakefield in the reserves, I’m pretty sure he’s not going to be far off the pace.
“We needed to see – and he needed to see – where he was at, I think between his ears. But he still showed some glimpses there of the career he obviously has had.”
Now 37, Radford also admitted they ‘tinkered and toyed’ with the prospect of Ellis playing last year – but said the former Great Britain international is now in a much better position to feature for Hull once again.
He said: “He was there or thereabouts last year and was getting tinkered and toyed about with.
“It probably came just too soon then in terms of training. He probably had not had enough. But this time around he’s been pedalling around the country, doing keep-fit challenges and he looks as good as he did when he played.
“Vocally he’s still the loudest bloke out there in the right sense, and I’m pretty sure he can have an influence on the game in that department as well.”
New signing Ratu Naulogo is also included in Hull’s 19-man squad for the game after signing a one-year deal with the Black and Whites on Friday.