Ellery cool about chances on ice

Ex-Saints coach Ellery Hanley has described his role in a TV dance competition as the toughest sporting challenge of his career.

Hanley made his debut on the ice rink just over a week ago as the male stars of ITV's Dancing On Ice performed their routines for the first time in front of the judges.

Not usually known for his delicate prowess, it took a bit of gentle persuasion for the sporting legend to take to the ice.

He said: "ITV contacted me in October last year. I wasn't sure - I had never watched the programme before.

"I travelled down and everybody is on the ice, going round backwards and forwards, and I thought this is not for me.

"But I put my boots on and I quite liked it.

"It's something that will never come up again and I wanted to challenge myself and get out of my comfort zone. I am really pleased I have done it."

And the 47-year-old, who was voted the best Rugby League player of all time in 2007, has no problems wearing sequins and lycra.

He laughed: "That's not a problem. I have quite embraced all the colours. The only thing I was worried about was as long as I didn't have my lunchbox exposed. But I am not too phased by it."

Ellery, who has achieved momentous success in rugby, becoming captain for Great Britain in 1987, is still finding his feet on the ice and has been putting in the extra hours.

He added: "It doesn't come easily - I have had to work extremely hard. We generally train two hours a day with the classes, but I have been doing an extra couple of ones. Jessica Taylor has done it before and Ray Quinn is outstanding - no-one will touch him in a million years. I well never get as good as him.

"I have done a lot of sport and this, by a long way, is the hardest sport I have done. You only have a couple of millimetres of blade on your feet to keep balance and try to learn different moves."

And Ellery, who is now coaching the Doncaster Dragons, is grateful to all St Helens fans who have supported him.

He said: "I would like to shake everybody's hand and say thank you. I would like to express how grateful I am for every single vote."

Support Ellery on ITV on Sunday, at 6.30pm.