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Ellery Hanley
Ellery Hanley
Former Great Britain rugby captain and first black GB rugby coach/manager

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.

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!

Quite 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, a fact which saw him receive the ultimate human honour - 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.

In 1995, Ellery was lured with the megabucks to join up with the Australian Rugby League, signalling the end of an era for rugby league fans in Britain - the exit of 'The Black Pearl'. A 428 tries appearance in 498 tells its own story!

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