DOB: 10 July 1961
Number: 26 1980-1984
Games: 42 (44 total)
The son of Tom McLean played 11 senior games for Sandringham across 1978 and 1979, appearing in all three grades during 1979 and winning a third premiership before being recruited to the Demons. He lived in St Kilda's zone, but as his father had played for both North Melbourne and Melbourne he could have chosen to go to any of the three. He had also been pursued by South Melbourne before joining the Dees.
Originally a centre-half back, McLean was converted into a ruckman and found himself a regular spot in the lineup during 1982 when his fellow ruckmen Garry Baker was injured and Michael Byrne was sold to Hawthorn. Early in the season he had his own injury issues, breaking his wrist.
He played every game in 1983, held down the first ruck position despite the presence of star signing Peter Moore and finished fifth in the best and fairest, but in 1984 his form dropped and he often found himself out of position or in the Reserves.
Collingwood came calling and he decided he wanted to go. Though he hadn't signed a contract for the season despite playing as late as Round 4, Melbourne believed they still had a binding agreement with him. The Magpies offered him a three year deal which he signed and Melbourne issued a supreme court writ against Collingwood to block the move.
Supreme Court documents revealed that Melbourne had offered him a three year deal worth $32,000, $34,000 and $36,000 until the end of 1986 as well as $5000 in incentive payments. He played in Collingwood's Reserves while waiting for the legal action to clear up the situation (the Pies lost the points for the Reserves win) and countered with his own writ asking the court to clear him to Victoria Park.
Melbourne had demanded a fee of $180,000 to clear McLean, and one story says when the Collingwood board would only stump up $120,000 Pies president Ranald Macdonald paid the difference out of his own pocket. Alternatively it's reported that Melbourne received a $40,000 transfer fee. Melbourne also got Tony Keenan as part of the exchange.
After the protracted wrangle was settled McLean played in two consecutive games late in the year, was dropped and never played VFL football again. He remained on Collingwood's list through 1985, but with the club in financial difficulty and players voting to take a pay cut he was one of five sacked from the club in January 1986.
McLean spoke to Melbourne about a return but realised his heart wasn't in a league career and retired.