SFS a happy home for Ellis - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

SFS a happy home for Ellis

By Ian McCullough 09/09/2010 07:09:49 PM Comments (0)

The Sydney Football Stadium holds special memories for Wests Tigers' English backrower Gareth Ellis.

Four years ago an unheralded Great Britain team stunned a star-studded Kangaroos side 23-12 in a Tri-Nations clash at the SFS to chalk up a first win on Australian soil since 1992, with Ellis playing a key role.

The venue also saw the Yorkshireman score his first-ever NRL try, in a memorable come-from-behind 26-22 win against Manly in the opening round of this season.

So understandably Ellis is delighted with the Tigers' decision to play their first finals game in five years against Sydney Roosters there on Saturday, with a capacity crowd of over 40,000 expected.

And despite the clash being played on the Roosters' home patch, Ellis believes that factor will have no outcome on the result.

"I really enjoy playing at the SFS, I have some really good memories of playing there both with the Tigers and England," Ellis told AAP.

"Forty-odd thousand screaming fans being there will make it extra special as that is what you play the game for, the big games are what you want to be involved in and I am sure our fans will turn out in droves and get behind us.

"The beauty of the SFS is that it is a football stadium and designed for football, finals haven't come around too often for the Tigers and this is a great opportunity for us."

Ellis, who won two Super League grand finals with Leeds Rhinos, before making the move to the Tigers in 2009, admitted he has been blown away by the build-up to the match.

"Back home the media coverage and publicity is a lot lower, here it is massive and that makes it even more exciting," he said.

"The way the game is over here and how big it is makes it really special to be involved in these games.

"After 26 rounds you are normally ready to get away, but with finals footy coming around it has put a spring in everyone's step, and not with just the players, but everyone connected to the club."

The 29-year-old warmly recalled that night in November 2006 when the Lions stunned Ricky Stuart's side for a rare win over Australia.

"It was great game for us, we were written off by a lot of people and no-one gave us a chance, and we went out and won," he said.

"It was one of the best moments of my career, and I remember speaking to Jamie Peacock after the game and we both said it was one of the best wins we had experienced.

"Unfortunately we went on to lose against New Zealand the following week and didn't qualify for the final which put a bit of a dampener on it.

"But hopefully the SFS can be a happy hunting ground again on Saturday."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

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