Ross Gregory Hanley
- 633Wallaby Number
Ross Hanley was an evasive winger / utility back with tremendous speed and acceleration at a time when Australia had an embarrassment of riches in their three-quarter line. A quiet man, Hanley was tenacious and resolute, and he had to be given he was competing for national honours with some of the greats of that era - David Campese, Brendan Moon and Roger Gould. Above all, Hanley was widely recognised as a great team man.
Born in far-north Queensland at Atherton, Hanley was educated at St Joseph’s Nudgee College where he played two seasons in the 1st XI (1977-78) and scored a century in his last match against Churchie. In his final year Hanley also played in the 1st XV where he dropped final minute field goals to beat both Toowoomba Grammar and eventual premiers Gregory Terrace.
After graduation Hanley joined the Brothers club and while there enjoyed a wealth of success with five Hospitals Cup premierships wins (1981-84 & 1987). In 1981 Hanley made his debut for Queensland, the first of 43 caps for his state, against Victoria at Ballymore and the following year represented Australian U21s where he notably outscored David Campese four tries to three in the win over Fiji U21s.
Hanley then won a spot on the 1982 Wallaby tour to New Zealand but did not play in the Tests. In 1983 he was in the match day squad for the opening international of the year against the U.S.A. and when Roger Gould was forced off with a thigh injury Hanley came on to make his Test debut. Within minutes of his arrival on the field Mark Ella kicked a ball behind the Eagles backline and into the goal area near the right corner post. Hanley raced through and dotted the ball down for a try with his first touch in Test football. In 1984 Hanley was selected for the Wallaby tour to the U.K. and Ireland, and although not capped in any of the four internationals he was part of a most unique chapter in Australian Rugby history. Ross Hanley played three Tests for Australia in a three-year international career.
Represented Australian U21s when they defeated Fiji U21s (47-4) at Ballymore and New Zealand U21s 36-12 at the S.C.G.
Hanley won his first Test cap off the bench when he replaced Roger Gould at fullback and then switched with David Campese to the wing in the 49-3 defeat of the U.S.A. in Sydney. He scored his first Test try to become the 56th Wallaby to score a try on debut. Hanley picked up a second cap, also as a replacement (for Brendan Moon on the left wing) in the 29-7 win over Italy at Rovigo.
Hanley earned a final Test cap when he replaced Glen Ella in the 2nd Test, 31-9 victory over Fiji at the S.C.G.