Black History Round: Ellery Hanley
This Friday’s game at St Helens is part of the Betfred Super League Black History Round and throughout this week, we will be celebrating the black players who have been central to our club’s proud history. Next up is Ellery Hanley.
Former Leeds, Wigan, Bradford Northern, Balmain, Western Suburbs, Sydney Tigers and Great Britain international loose forward Ellery Hanley made his Leeds debut at Headingley in a 20-14 win over Hull FC at the start of the 1991-92 season and went on to record 427 points in 114 appearances, including 106 tries.
Having scored 55 tries in the 1984-85 for Bradford Northern and 63 for Wigan two years later at half back, Hanley arrived at his hometown club as a renown try scorer. With the exception of his first year at Headingley, the loose forward finished as the club’s leading try scorer for two years running as Leeds finished fifth and seventh in the league. For the 1994-94 season though, little did Leeds know that their captain would set a record that no forward has got close to replicating.
Despite only registering four tries in the first seven fixture, Leeds’ 30-28 win away at Featherstone Rovers in round 12 sparked a scoring spree for Hanley, who crossed 16 times in the next nine matches.
Four tries against Widnes in the new year and a hat trick in the Challenge Cup quarter final win over Workington Town pushed Hanley to 37 for the season and close to former Leeds player Bob Haigh’s 40 tries in 1970/71; the record number of tries for by forward in a single season.
A further two tries against Featherstone Rovers in the Challenge Cup semi finals and a score against former club Bradford Northern saw Hanley match Haigh’s record with five league matches, plus Play Offs, and a Challenge Cup final left to go. He only needed two games, crossing in the 17-11 away win over Warrington to set the new record in both club and rugby league history.