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Ennis distances Blues from flood comments

David Beniuk 20/05/2011 05:17:21 PM Comments (0)

NSW State of Origin hooker Michael Ennis has emotionally drawn on a life-changing visit to flood-ravaged Queensland to distance the Blues from controversial comments made by former player Benny Elias.

Ennis approached NSW officials and asked if he could address remarks from Elias comparing the flood disaster to next Wednesday's Origin opener at Suncorp Stadium.

Elias on Friday apologised for the comments, made at a function organised by former Blues Origin players on Thursday night.

Ennis spent time in Queensland earlier this year on community visits with his NRL club Canterbury.

"It changed my life, some of the stuff that I saw up there, and I don't think you can even compare a footy game," Ennis told reporters at Blues training on Friday.

"At the end of the day it's a footy game compared with people's livelihoods and some of the things that were destroyed and people's lives that were torn apart.

"It was devastating, it was a war zone.

"People lost their lives, I met mothers and fathers that lost their children and still talking about it now isn't something that I'm a hundred per cent comfortable with.

"But I think that out of the group of guys that we've got here today, I was the one that experienced the most feelings and pain, I suppose, from that experience so I thought it was best for me to probably talk about it."

Elias made the comments towards the end of an interview with Fox Sports News at the Origin Legends Blue Tie Ball.

"They are so cocky, they are so confident, they believe that they're bullet-proof and I can assure you there's something coming up there," Elias said.

"They're going to make these floods ... look like an absolute mimic when it comes to us coming up there because we're going to certainly create a massive storm."

Often cast as the niggling villain for Maroons fans, Ennis was determined to dismiss the remarks.

"I'm extremely disappointed in terms of what I saw and the relationships that I've built with some people up there," he said.

"I think it was uncalled for."

Ennis said any suggestion Queensland would use Elias' words as motivation was inappropriate.

"It's got nothing to do with what we're going to do on next Wednesday night and the job that Ricky's going to set for us," he said.

Elias played in a former Origin players' floods fundraiser and said he had been involved in "seven or eight" other relief events.

He rang a Sydney radio station on Friday morning to apologise.

"If it was all personal, too personal, I would never have got involved and helped the Queenslanders," he told the Austereo network.

"I've got a personal letter from their premier, Anna Bligh, saying thanks for your support."

But Elias was also adamant he had been taken out of context.

"It was a tongue in cheek thing, it was nothing more, nothing less," he said.

"If they take that out of context and take it seriously I think people really have got to have a good look at themselves."

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