coach St John Ellis passes away

Rugby league was on Saturday mourning the loss of former Castleford and Great Britain winger St John Ellis, the Doncaster coach who collapsed and died following a training session.

Ellis, 41, who was the longest-serving coach in the professional game, had just finished taking the National League One club for a pre-season training session in Castleford when he suffered a suspected heart attack.

Attempts were made to resuscitate him and he was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

He leaves a wife, Melanie, and two young daughters, India and Mia.

"It's a great shock to us all," said Doncaster chairman John Wright.

"He was training with the lads this morning when he had some sort of seizure.

"His heart stopped and he never recovered. We had the physio there and other trained people who tried to give him mouth to mouth straight away.

"He was taken to Pontefract hospital very quickly and given electric-shock treatment but it was no good.

"You wouldn't believe it. There wasn't a fitter coach in the game. He was a fitness fanatic who never asked any of his players to do something he couldn't do himself."

Ellis played for Castleford, Bradford, Halifax, Keighley, Hunslet and Doncaster before taking over as coach of the South Yorkshire club towards the end of the 1999 season.

He was a member of the Castleford side which lost to Wigan in the 1992 Challenge Cup final at Wembley and won three Great Britain caps from 1991-94.

Doncaster Lakers (formerly Dragons) play in National League One, competing for potential promotion to Super League. Assistant coach Tony Miller has been placed in temporary charge.

- - - - -

Thanks to for this news.