With the 2020 NRL Nines just around the corner, it has become a tradition for clubs to send past legends to participate in the competition.
Players such as Brad Fitler for the Roosters in 2014 have provided NRL fans with a sense of nostalgia and excitement by participating in these types of tournaments and the NRL Nines also gives a way for clubs and fans to acknowledge and reminisce about the past glories that the greats of the game have provided.
For the Wests Tigers, clubs legends such as Pat Richards, Scott Prince and Brett Hodgson all come to mind and rightfully so. However, a player that I think the club should honor by bringing back for the NRL Nines is none other than English Legend Gareth Ellis.
Having joint the Tigers in 2009, it’s no surprise that the Tigers went on to secure top 4 finishes in both 2010 and 2011 (ironically the last time Wests Tigers made the finals).
Gareth Ellis at his best for Wests Tigers:
Ellis in his four seasons and 75 games with the Tigers quickly became the best forward in the club and the best that I have ever seen, primarily because of the uncompromising way he played the game.
In line with the traditional Pommy forward, Ellis was tough as nails in both attack and defense and was known for his big hits as well as incredible line running outside of Benji Marshall and Robert Lui.
The 2010 Wests Tigers team in my opinion historically is one of the most overlooked elite attacking threats in the modern game falling short of a grand final berth by one point to a Dragons team that went on to win the competition.
The team could literally score from anywhere on the field with players like Marshall and Robbie Farah in the prime of their respective careers and young guns such as Chris Lawrence, Keith Galloway, Lui and Andrew Fifita bursting onto the scene. I cannot stress enough how entertaining this team was to watch.
The reason why Gareth Ellis was so important to the 2010 team was that while he offered strike power on the edge, he also set the tone for the team defensively in a Tim Sheens game plan that often put more emphasis on outscoring the opposition rather than trying to win games on the back of defense.
He was also a great talker on the field:
For this reason, Gareth Ellis was so important to the Tigers and his presence has never really been replaced at the club.
It would be great to see Gareth Ellis running off of Benji Marshall at the 9’s in Perth this year as there is no player that has had such an immediate impact on the club in such a short amount of time that the big English International.
Which Wests Tigers legend would you like to see in action again at the Nines? What was your favourite Gareth Ellis moment? Leave us a comment below.
(Photo: Fox Sports.com)