Former Hull FC scrum half Greg Mackey sadly passed away on the 24th September 2014 after a battle with cancer.
The Australian, known to everyone as Bluey, made 95 appearances for the Black and Whites between 1989 and 1992, scoring 18 tries and six drop-goals.
Most famous for captaining Hull’s 1991 Premiership Final victory over Widnes, Mackey went on to claim the Harry Sunderland trophy in a Man of the Match performance.
Having had two spells at Warrington, not to mention playing at South Sydney, Illawarra Steelers, Canterbury-Bankstown, and Huddersfield Giants, Greg Mackey reached a grand total of 385 career appearances, scoring 79 tries.
But its Bluey’s time at Hull that stands out here, as his Black and Whites defied the pre-game predictions to defeat heavily fancied Widnes 14-4 at Old Trafford – for what was a record crowd of 42,043 for a Premiership Final at the time.
Alongside half back partner Patrick Entat, a combination many consider one of the best Hull have ever had, Mackey took control of the game behind a dominant pack. Maybe not the most skilful of Hull sides gone by, but this team were hard-working, and relished the underdog tag to prevent the Chemics of a fourth successive Premiership.
Hull’s Australian coach Noel Cleal, who only had the hot seat for a short while following Brian Smith’s mid-season departure, had spent hours analysing video tapes of Widnes, and his homework proved invaluable for the Airlie Birds’ first cup success since 1984.
The base of forward supremacy, established by the front row of Karl Harrison, Lee Jackson and Andy Dannatt, was built upon by the craft of the half backs.
Skipper Mackey was irrepressible to earn the coveted Harry Sunderland Trophy as Man of the Match. The Australian dictated play from the first whistle, spraying out passes, putting in kicks and constantly probing for openings. Bluey memorised Widnes to set up Hull’s first try for Richard Gay. The Chemics – as they were known before all the American-like moniker nonsense – were disrupted by the revelation of a transfer demand from star winger Martin Offiah, not to mention the rumours of their coach heading to Leeds.
This though was all about Hull FC, and after a break orchestrated by French half back Entat, Russ Walker was able to touch down for his side’s second try.
The men from the infamous Boulevard ground continued to outplay Widnes, but it was the prolific Offiah who struck next, for his 49th try of that particular year.
From the calm composure of game-star Mackey, Gary Nolan came off the bench to add Hull’s third and game clinching try. Nolan was playing amateur rugby league six weeks prior to Old Trafford and had scored in each of his three previous appearances – again all from the bench, getting the winning against Leeds at the death the week before. The vast army of travelling Black and White fans then erupted as Eastwood converted to put Widnes out of reach.
Widnes’ impressive back line – including the calibre of players such as now BBC Rugby League commentator Jonathon Davies – were halted by Hull’s equally impressive defence. They rarely got an opening, such was the dominance of their opposition.
Hull FC deservedly lifted the 1991 Premiership trophy, with Greg Mackey lifting the cup alongside Hull born hooker Lee Jackson. We all remember the words… You f*****g beauty!
Hull Line Up: 1. Richard Gay, 2. Paul Eastwood, 3. Damien McGarry, 4. Brad Webb, 5. Neil Turner, 6. Greg Mackey, 7. Patrick Entat, 8. Karl Harrison, 9. Lee Jackson, 10. Andy Dannatt, 11. Ian Marlow, 12. Russ Walker, 13. Jon Sharp. Bench: 14. Gary Nolan, 15. Dean Busby.
Hull Tries: Gay, Walker, Nolan. Goals: Eastwood 1/3
Widnes Line Up: 1. Alan Tait, 2. John Devereux, 3. Andy Currier, 4. Jonathon Davies, 5. Martin Offiah, 6. Barry Dowd, 7. David Hulme, 8. Kurt Sorenson, 9. Phil McKenzie, 10. Joe Grima, 11. Paul Hulme, 12. Emosi Koloto, 13. Steve McCurrie. Bench: 14. Darren Wright, 15. Harvey Howard.
Widnes Tries: Offiah. Goals: 0/1
Referee: John Holdsworth (Kippax)