Elliott reduced to tears in tribute to Boyle and Stuart for salvaging career

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An emotional Adam Elliott was reduced to tears as he paid tribute to fiancee and NRLW star Millie Boyle, as well as rival Raiders coach Ricky Stuart, for helping him salvage his career when “it could have gone either way”.

Elliott and Boyle will gear up for one of the biggest weekends of their respective careers when Roosters prop and former Dally M medallist Boyle takes on her old club Newcastle on Saturday, and Elliott faces the Canberra club that gave him a one-year lifeline 24 hours later.

After an injury hampered start to 2023, Elliott has found his feet with the Knights as a key forward leader, delivering on the three-year deal that prised him out of Canberra after multiple failed attempts to lure him to Newcastle previously.

It’s a far cry from when he was first signed by Stuart in late-2021 with his career at a crossroads.

Elliott had been released from the last two seasons of a $500,000-a-year Bulldogs contract after multiple alcohol-fuelled indiscretions and off-field dramas.

Canberra signed him on a 12-month deal worth around $250,000 soon after he and Boyle were caught up in an infamous toilet tryst on the Gold Coast.

Adam Elliott and Millie Boyle.Credit: Instagram

The childhood friends moved on swiftly from the drama and have been inseparable ever since, scheduling their wedding for October once their respective seasons finish.

Speaking on Monday ahead of Sunday’s expected sellout where either Newcastle or Canberra’s season will end, Elliott was overwhelmed when asked about his off-field turnaround, lauding Boyle’s influence on him.

“I’m still the same person, I’ve still got the same friends and my family hasn’t changed, but I’m a lot more settled off the field,” Elliott told this masthead.

“A big part of that is Millie. She came into my life at a time where things could have gone either way for me. My career was in the balance.

“Millie’s the biggest influence over my personal happiness right now. How much she’s bought into my family, and helping to raise my little boy [from a previous relationship], it means the world to me.

Adam Elliott and former Raiders teammate Jordan Rapana.Credit: NRL Photos

“I probably don’t give her enough credit, she’s a very special person and stopping here and trying to explain everything she does for me, it gets me a bit emotional.”

Elliott acknowledged Canberra’s disappointment in losing him to the Knights last year, when the offer of an upgraded three-year extension wasn’t enough to keep him in the nation’s capital.

His move brought him and Boyle together at the same club. Elliott was reduced to tears during Boyle’s winning NRLW grand final speech last year, before her move to the Roosters.

Elliott said Stuart’s famously frank ways, and a shared bond through his brother James and Stuart’s daughter Emma, who both have autism, will always endure for him.

“Sticky and I, I think we both appreciated that we were always pretty truthful and upfront with each other from the word go,” Elliott said.

“We bonded over his daughter Emma and my brother James and that’s something pretty special between us. I’ll always hold that in high regard with our relationship.

“The details of that convo [when Elliott knocked back Canberra’s offer] will stay on the walls of Sticky’s office. I felt that loyalty to Canberra, a bit of an obligation to them.

“I think he could tell it wasn’t easy for me and he was disappointed that I was leaving… but there’s no bad blood there. I’ve spoken to Stick plenty of times since then and I’ll always have a lot of respect for him.”

Knights coach Adam O’Brien personally pursued Elliott when he was on the market last year, reversing calls the 28-year-old made 12 months earlier when he was hoping Newcastle had space for him in their 2022 roster.

“It’s funny, I was calling him one year before Canberra had shown interest, but we couldn’t work it out and I wasn’t really in a position to wait,” Elliott said.

“And then it was Adz calling me saying, ‘There’s a spot, we want you’. He was pretty adamant that he wanted me and he worked quite hard to get me. I couldn’t be happier with how the move has panned out.“

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