Rugby League - Pitts relishing Ellis link-up

Hull's Jay Pitts is delighted to be rubbing shoulders with England forward Gareth Ellis after following in his footsteps for the first five years of his career.

PA Sport
Rugby League - Pitts relishing Ellis link-up

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Jay Pitts is hoping to be part of Hull's 17-man squad for the Challenge Cup final

Like Ellis, the 23-year-old Pitts began his Super League career at Wakefield before joining Leeds but was always one step behind his boyhood idol.

Ellis had moved on to Australian club Wests Tigers by the time Pitts signed for Leeds but the pair were united at Hull this year and are set to be team-mates in Saturday's Challenge Cup final at Wembley.

"I used to watch him when I was younger but I've always been one step behind him," Pitts said.

"I was at Wakefield with him and then I was one step behind him at Leeds.

"When he went to Wests Tigers, I couldn't be bothered following him! Now I've finally caught up with him.

"He's a great player but a down-to-earth person. He's a massive leader on the field - when he says something everybody listens."

While the 32-year-old Ellis is guaranteed his spot in Hull's Wembley team, Pitts is desperately hoping to make coach Peter Gentle's 17-man squad, to avoid experiencing the heartache he endured with Leeds.

The second-rower was twice a member of the Rhinos' Challenge Cup final squad, in 2010 and 2011, but missed out each time and does not want to make it a hat-trick.

"I was 18th man for the last one, the year before I was just out of favour, so I know how it feels and it's horrible really," Pitts added. "It's just not a nice feeling.

"I've had family come down when I wasn't playing and it's frustrating for them as well.

"They definitely won't want to go down and see me not playing again. So I need to do it for them, for friends and family who have stuck by me. I owe it to them as well as myself.

"I'm going to work my hardest to make sure I'm playing. I've got an opportunity here and I just need to play well and hopefully Pete will pick me. It will definitely be the best day of my career."

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