The rugby league international inspiring Brumbies' Mack Hansen

Super Rugby - AU
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Mack Hansen doesn’t have to look too far for inspiration.

A 60-year-old Kangaroos blazer owned by his grandfather Kevin and hanging up in his bedroom gives him an extra dose of motivation every day.

Kevin, who passed away before Mack was born, was a rugby league prop in the 1940s and 50s.

He scored the match-winning try for Wests Magpies in the 1947 grand final, beating Balmain 8-5 to collect the club’s third premiership, and played a Test for the Kangaroos in 1947.

Hansen channelled his grandfather’s coolness with a match-winning penalty for the Brumbies against the Reds last weekend.

When the Brumbies played the Force at Leichhardt Oval, Hansen also wore a Wests Magpies jersey on the trip.

After a 24-0 win on that night, that strip might just become a regular addition..

“I wore my Wests Magpies jersey up there last time and that went pretty well so I might have to do that again this week,” he said.

“I never got to meet (my grandfather) but I know he was a good man and that blazer is just a bit of inspiration there.”

Despite his grandfather’s legacy, Hansen said he never really entertained going down the rugby league path despite being a mad Wests Tigers fan growing up.

Ironically, he finds himself playing regular games at the Tigers’ homeground of Leichhardt Oval in Super Rugby AU, something he never really imagined.

In the list of things Hansen might have never imagined, one would have been kicking a match-winning 83rd minute goal as well.

He missed a conversion late in the game before nailing his penalty kick and fulfilling a childhood dream in the process.

“It was a dream come true,” he said.

“It would’ve been nice to get that first kick and not have had to worry about that but .I'm still kind of lost for words with it, just a childhood dream come true.”

Hansen replaced Bayley Kuenzle at 10 with 15 minutes remaining and the Brumbies trailing the Reds by six points last weekend.

That stint at flyhalf was his first as a main playmaker since he finished school, a sign of the faith that Dan McKellar is putting in his young players.

“First time playing 10 in a long time, I played out of school but that was about four years ago now,” he said.

“They put the faith in me with a big confidence booster and hopefully can get a few more minutes at 10 again this week and keep building on it.”

It was an injury to fellow young gun Noah Lolesio that put Hansen in the frame to fill in at 10 behind Kuenzle and the injured Brumby was one of the first to congratulate his teammate when that kick sailed through.

“He's a great bloke, he's stoked for me and Bayley in our opportunity as it is, he's one of the first blokes that came up and gave me a big hug in the kick,” he said.

“He would've loved to have had the opportunity, I'm sure he would've nailed it himself but he's been really good around the group, always put a smile on his face and he's been encouraging.”

The Brumbies currently sit seven points clear on the top of the Super Rugby AU table as they prepare to face the Rebels on Friday night.

Hansen said despite their position they felt they had plenty more to give in the weeks to come.

“Still I don't think we're playing to our absolute potential yet,” he said.

“We've had a few close games, it'd be nice to just put it all together and get a big score for once. Hopefully keep the blood pressure down for a few of our fans.

“I'm sure we're going to click any moment now, we've just got to back ourselves a bit more and definitely be coming in the next couple of weeks.”

The Brumbies take on the Rebels on Friday August 7 at Leichhardt Oval, kicking off at 7:05pm AEST, LIVE on Foxtel, Foxtel Now and Kayo Sports. Buy tickets here. Buy a Kayo subscription here.