Ellery Hanley – Black British Rugby Player

Ellery Hanley - One of Britains Best Ever Rugby League Players
Ellery Hanley - One of Britains Best Ever Rugby League Players

Ellery Hanley was one of Britain’s Greatest Rugby

On November 26th 1978 Ellery Hanley

made his debut in which ‘Northern’ won 30-18. Over the following 6 years with Bradford, Hanley made 126 appearances scoring phenomenal 89 tries. Undoubtedly his greatest season for the club came in 1984/85 when he scored 55 tries in only 37 appearances, a feat made all the more special by the fact that he alternated between wing, centre and  standoff, with equal devastating effect.

Fans gave him the nickname of ‘Mr Magic’, as he almost single handedly kept Bradford in the top flight. Had he had a high quality team around him. His Great Britain debut came (whilst still at Bradford) as a substitute in January 1984, against France in Avignon. Many more international appearances followed for his country, many of which were
as captain.

His 55 tries in 1985 identified Ellery as the hottest property in British and possibly world, rugby league. He transferred, A world record transfer to Wigan for the sum of 150,000 Pounds

From there, his career catapulted as he became one of the most decorated players in the game winning medal after medal. Hanley was, in any country or team, a huge draw-card. In 1989 as he achieved one of the greatest accolades any rugby league player can win – ‘The Adidas Golden Boot’ awarded to the World’s Most Outstanding Player’.

The same season which saw him score one of the games greatest ever tries at Wembley against St Helens, a game where he also one the Man of the Match Trophy. Simply Ellery’s personal milestones, achievements and medals are far too numerous and lengthy to mention. He has achieved almost every honour in the game, he has also been awarded the MBE!

A 4 year stint with the Leeds club followed his Wigan career where he again broke the world transfer record, despite being 30 years of age. He was immediately appointed captain. His impact at the club was again immeasurable as he thrilled fans and fellow professionals alike.

His try scoring exploits continued at Headingley, yet his leadership and defensive qualities just seemed to get better and better.

Hsnley went  down under In 1995, lured with the megabucks to join up with the Australian Rugby League, signaling the end of an era for rugby league fans in Britain – the exit of ‘The Black Pearl’. 428 tries appearances in 498 tells it’s own story.

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One thought on “Ellery Hanley – Black British Rugby Player

  • 21st December 2015 at 5:30 pm

    The best player I have ever seen, no doubt! If you want to look at black rugby league legends check out Clive Sullivan as well. The first black sportsman ever to captain a British sporting team when he led Great Britain to victory in the 1972 world cup.


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