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Ken McLean

Playing Career : 1943 - 1944, and 1946
Debut : Round 1, 1943 vs Richmond, aged 20 years, 168 days
Carlton Player No. 578
Games : 10
Goals : 5
Last Game : Round 8, 1946 vs Collingwood, aged 23 years, 201 days
Guernsey Nos. 14 (1943), 23 (1944) and 29 (1946)
Height : 177 cm (5 ft. 9 in.)
Weight : 79 kg (12 stone, 6 lbs.)
DOB : November 21, 1922


The younger brother of dual Carlton Premiership player Rod McLean, Kenneth Henry McLean played ten senior games for the Blues in a career hamstrung by his military service in World War II. He was born in Coburg, and served on the mainland with the Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers between 1941 and 1946, and appeared in ten intermittent games for the Blues in a variety of positions, including centre in his first match, and second rover in his last. McLean was recruited from Coburg Sons of Soldiers – a northern suburbs club that also produced one of his team-mates at Carlton, Jack Conley.

Ken’s debut (and only game for the Blues in 1943) was a memorable match against Richmond at Princes Park in the opening round of that season. A committed Tiger outfit matched the Blues all day, and ended up having one more shot at goal. However, their final score of 8.23 (71) fell 44 points short of the Blues, who kicked 17.13 (115). The difference was Carlton’s star full-forward Jim Baird, who steered through ten goals in a dominant display.

McLean’s military duties kept him off the field throughout 1945, but in ’46 he fronted up again at Carlton under the leadership of his brother. Rod McLean was acting captain of Carlton for the first eight matches of that season, while Bob Chitty served out a lengthy suspension incurred in the previous year’s sensational Grand Final.

Ken McLean’s last senior appearance for Carlton came on the King’s Birthday long weekend in round 8, 1946, when the Blues took on Collingwood at Victoria Park. Ken and Rod McLean lined up the forward pockets either side of Ken Baxter, but all three rarely got a sniff of the leather as the ‘Pies swamped the Blues with seven goals to nil in the first quarter, and eventually ran out winners by 56 points.

Ken pulled the plug on his VFL career after that black day, while Rod continued on and played in his second Carlton Premiership side in 1947.

McLean also wore Guernsey No. 23 during the 1945 season whilst playing in the reserves team.

McLean passed away on the 14th November, 1992 aged 69 (a week before his 70th birthday).

Footnote

1946 June 28
The Williamstown Chronicle;
"Ken Mclean brother of Rod Carlton's vice-captain, applied to Carlton for a clearance to the Seagulls. McLean has played five games for the Blues and is a rover and half-back."

1949 March 1,
Ken McLean was appointed as coach of Dimboola. He was interviewed by Dimboola while Ken was on his honeymoon, having been married the previous week.
The Horsham Times;
"The new coach played for Carlton for five years and for Coburg the last two seasons. There will be no trouble about a clearance. He is described by the Coburg club as a vigorous type of player who kicks well with either foot. McLean is a butcher by trade and the Dimboola Club is fortunate in not having to find him a house.
He requires board for himself and his wife and this is being arranged.
The position he will play in for Dimboola is not known yet. For Coburg he played as follower-rover. The salary has not been finally decided yet, but it will not be more than last year's coach (Jack Symons) received, ie., £12 per week."

Blueseum: Summary of playing statistics for Ken McLean | McLean's Blueseum Image Gallery

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