18 Oct 2021

Black History Month Bio - Henderson Gill

Henderson Gill - THE BOOGIE KNIGHT (Bradford, Rochdale Hornets, Wigan & Great Britain)

It takes a special player to create an iconic rugby league moment. But it takes a very special player indeed to create two iconic moments. Henderson Gill was that player.

In the 1985 Challenge Cup final he lit up Wembley with a 75 metre try-scoring run that was topped off with a huge smile which summed up everything about that joyous game.

Three years later in Sydney, he raced 45 metres to score the decisive try in Great Britain's historic 26-12 win over Australia - and earned a place in rugby league immortality by doing, in the words of the Australian TV commentator, 'a bit of a boogie' to celebrate.

But that was Henderson, a tough, smart winger who lit up rugby league throughout the 1980s.

Born and bred in Huddersfield, his parents were part of the Windrush generation who came to the North of England from Barbados. He made his debut in 1978 for Bradford, was transferred to Rochdale in 1980 before moving to Wigan a year later, where he became a mainstay of the all-conquering side coached by Graham Lowe.

With his trade-mark rolled down socks, Henderson scored 145 tries and won every honour in the game, including the 1987 World Club Championship win over Manly, in his 232 matches for the club. He scored a hat-trick on his debut for Great Britain in 1981, and went on to make another fifteen international appearances.

Yet mere statistics don't truly do justice to his career - because Henderson Gill was also a player who understood that winning was everything, but that rugby league tasted even sweeter if it was enjoyable too.

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