Ellery Hanley MBE - The Black Pearl Born in Leeds, England on the 27th of March 1961. Hanley was without any shadow of a doubt a genuine one of a kind. Blessed with everything needed to be the all-round Rugby League player, Hanley is widely regarded as one of the best players to ever play the game and indeed, in 2007 he was voted the greatest British rugby league player of all time! Quite some accolade. Ellery began his professional career in 1978 after signing for Bradford Northern where he made a try scoring debut in the Yorkshire sideâ€™s defeat of Rochdale Hornets. He went on to make 126 appearances for Northern scoring 89 tries in the process including a stunning haul of 55 tries in his final season at Odsal! Understandably he won Man Of Steel that year. In 1985 he left Northern and for the princely sum of Â£150,000 plus two players going in the opposite direction, he headed across the Pennines to take his skills to Central Park, home of Wigan Rugby League Football Club. It is at Wigan that Ellery probably played the best rugby of his career, making 202 appearances for the cherry and whites and scoring 189 tries on route to picking up a highly impressive haul of winners medals including 3 Championships, 4 Challenge Cups and 1 World Club Challenge. His talent during his time at Wigan was recognised with another 2 Man of Steel awards and in 1989 he was awarded the Adidas Golden Boot as the worldâ€™s best player. Ellery left Wigan in 1991 for his hometown club for a fee of Â£250,000 and he made 104 appearances for Leeds and scored many tries including a very impressive 41 tries in the 94-95 season, a world record for a forward. Hanley also played in Australia for Balmain, Wests and Balmain again where he brought his playing career to a close. He also gained International recogniton and earned 34 Great Britain caps. I was lucky enough to watch Ellery play on many occasions and his abilty never failed to impress me... be it his incredible fitness levels that never seemed to dip, his attacking flair, his workrate and just his presence on the pitch was enough to inspire the crowd so God only knows how much of a lift it gave to those playing alongside him. I have many memories of Ellery but the warmest of them was on his first return to Central Park with Leeds where he was greeted with nothing but affection from the Wigan fans who even managed to coax a wave out of him. Gents... I give you Ellery Hanley aka The Black Pearl. The greatest player I have ever seen.