Ellis at home in Tiger territory

The expectations are high but international second-rower Gareth Ellis doesn’t see himself as the ‘white knight’ of the Wests Tigers.<br> <br>Ellis is enjoying his first pre-season training stint in the NRL after arriving at the Wests Tigers for three years with 17 Tests for Great Britain and five matches for England behind him.<br> <br>Rated as one of the world’s best second-rowers - if not the best - Ellis played 212 games in the English Super League where he finished with a premiership victory with Leeds Rhinos last season.<br> <br> “To prove yourself in the NRL is the biggest thing you can do,’’ Ellis said.<br> <br>“Thankfully for me, the opportunity came. It is something I have always wanted to do. Wests Tigers were really forward in approaching me last year and giving me the opportunity.<br> <br> “I felt I became a little bit stale last year. This sort of opportunity could spark me up. I know I am going to have to improve and be better than I have ever been in order to achieve what I want to over here.”<br> <br>Ellis said he was excited to be playing alongside a strong forward contingent and packing down in the back-row with 2008 Wests Tigers player of the year, Chris Heighington.<br> <br>He is aware of the pressures from the rugby league public to perform. To Ellis, he is just another player in a quality Wests Tigers team.<br> <br>“You only have to look around the dressing room and see the talent that is in the room and the potential that is here,’’ Ellis said.<br> <br>“Most of the players here have done it before so they should have the belief and the will and the want to do it again. <br> <br>“Personally, the pressure that is on me is only what I put on myself. That is to play well, to train well, and to improve as a player.<br> <br>“Since signing with Wests Tigers, I have had plenty of discussions with Tim Sheens about what is expected of me. Tim has been brilliant from the outset. He inspired me to come here and I have learnt plenty already.<br> <br>“The way Wests Tigers dealt with me was second to none. I’m really excited about the prospect of playing here, particularly being the 10th anniversary of the Wests Tigers.<br> <br>“I didn’t go home after playing for England in the World Cup and it has been a real easy transition for me.<br> <br>“The club has looked after me and the players have made me feel really welcome. It has been good. I feel pretty much at home already.”<br> <br>Ellis said he had taken on board the advice given by fellow Englishman and former Sydney Roosters prop Adrian Morley about the intensity and toughness of the NRL compared to the English Super League.<br> <br>“The competition is getting stronger in England each year but there is the odd game where you know the top team is going to win,’’ Ellis said.<br> <br>“There is the odd slip up but it is not the same as it is in the NRL.<br> <br>“Adrian made clear to me that it is not easy. He gave me plenty of advice and said if you ever get the opportunity to do it, then go. I am surprised a lot more players back home haven’t done it.<br> <br>“For any player to play in the NRL, it is about consistency and performing at a high level week in, week out. I didn’t come here with the attitude of seeing how it goes and if I don’t enjoy it, I will go home.<br> <br>“It is just an exciting time for me, to be playing in the NRL and hopefully it won’t be just a case of happy to be here but making it a real success.<br> <br>“I have come here fully committed to a contract and I want to make a success of it. Three years is a great sort of time frame to be here.”<br> <br>Gareth Ellis File<br> <br>Date of Birth: 3/5/1981<br> <br>Birthplace: Castleford, England<br> <br>Junior Club: Castleford Lock Lane<br> <br>Position: Second row<br> <br>Height: 189cm<br> <br>Weight: 105kg<br> <br>Rep Honours: 17 Tests for Great Britain, 5 matches for England<br> <br>Super League Games: 212<br> <br>Previous Clubs: Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, Leeds Rhinos