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Ellis faces six months out of Super League
By Steve Mascord
13:31 AEST Sat Feb 2 2013

Former Wests Tigers star Gareth Ellis is fearing a broken foot which could sideline him for six months, after the Hull skipper didn't even make it to kick-off in his Super League return against Leeds.

Ellis suffered the injury during the warm-up, as Hull went on to lose 36-6 to Leeds at Headingley.

Meanwhile, Leeds' youngster and Gold Coast product Joe Vickery's hopes of a rags-to-riches World Club Challenge (WCC) appearance against Melbourne appear to have been cruelled by a broken foot sustained in the same match.

Ellis, 31, was the biggest-name signing in Super League this season after returning from a successful four-year stint with the Tigers.

But the England international is understood to have broken his left foot, which already contains a steel rod, as a result of the injury which sidelined him for three months last year.

"I'm not going to guess what he's done," said coach Peter Gentle.

"He'll have scans and x-rays.

"I was in the dressing room and someone came and said 'he's hurt his foot'.

"We could have needled it and risked him. But this early in the season, it was a big night for him, captaining the side and back here (at his former club)."

However, despite Gentle's optimism, it's understood Ellis left Leeds on Friday night convinced he had suffered a specific foot fracture which is as bad, if not worse, than the one which blighted his 2012 season and which could require an even longer layoff.

Former Penrith forward Mitchell Achurch shone on debut for Leeds and has his sights on the Storm in the February 22 WCC at the same venue - unlike his flatmate, Vickery.

"Unfortunately, he's going to be a bit negative in the house for the next couple of days," said Achurch.

"He gets scans on Monday and hopefully it's not as bad as they think.

"I'm not sure what they think it is but it looks bad and he's in a bit of pain.

"Joe told me earlier today he was nervous. I forgot that this was his first-grade debut altogether - he didn't play first grade back in Australia.

"It was a big day for him. Unfortunately it didn't turn out for the best."

Achurch says even though many Aussie fans haven't heard of him, he's earned the right to take on the Storm for the season's first trophy.

"The last time I played Melbourne, for Penrith, we got beaten by 50 points," the 23-year-old says.

"I feel like I'm in a team now that can actually roll them.

"We've got to build some momentum now in the Super League competition and hopefully, when they come over here, we can surprise them and give them a hiding as well.

"If we can beat the best team in the NRL, it means something good is going on in the Super League."

In the other game on opening night, Wigan lapped newly-saved Salford 42-0 at the Salford City Stadium.