Hull backed to cover loss of Ellis

13 January 2018 20:45:01 GMTPlus11

Hull FC's Mark Minichiello believes there are enough natural leaders within the squad to combat the loss of Gareth Ellis.

Former NRL and England star Ellis retired at the end of the 2017 season, and many people think that the Black and Whites will miss his presence in the middle of the park.

However, Minichiello believes there's enough depth of experience in the squad to make up for the loss.

"To be a good side, you need several quality players who lead on and off the field. We have slowly developed that over the time I have been here. We have lost Gaz, but there are people stepping into that role and taking responsibility, which is really good," said Minichiello, who says the club is yet to appoint a captain to replace Ellis.

"I don't know what the club are planning to do with the captaincy though. To be honest, I thought the natural progression would be to give it to Danny [Houghton]. He's been at the club for a long time and thoroughly deserves the chance to lead us

"If they wanted to give it to me then that'd be a great achievement for me at this stage of my career," added Minichiello. "I found being the captain of the Italian side a really exciting challenge and something I enjoyed."

Hull made it two wins at Wembley in a row in 2017, when they defended the Challenge Cup with victory over Wigan Warriors in the Final.

Hull start the 2018 campaign with a home match against Huddersfield Giants on Thursday 1st February.

The Black and Whites are 2.00 to beat Huddersfield with a 9.5-point handicap and 17.00 to win the Challenge Cup outright.

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