Alexander Douglas McLean
- 285Wallaby Number
Doug McLean Jr. was the eldest of four footballing sons of James Douglas McLean, the founder of the greatest dynasty in Australian rugby history. Doug Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps and together they became the first father and son to play Test rugby for the Wallabies. Born in Roma but educated at St Laurence's College in Brisbane, McLean Jr. was a wing three-quarter blessed with athleticism and speed, much like his father. After school he played his rugby for Valleys under the coaching of Wallaby #138 Harold Baker who played an integral part in McLean’s rugby development.
In 1932 the Wallabies lost a home series against New Zealand and just a month later the key trials were held for the 1933 tour to South Africa. The loss to the All Blacks stung and as a result many proven performers fell out of favour. When the dust settled McLean, who only made his Queensland debut in those trials, showed enough to be in the mix for a spot. In the end McLean’s form coupled with Baker’s influence saw him selected in the squad. McLean and ‘Mick’ Grace shared selection in the early matches before McLean was preferred for the key clash with Western Province, a week ahead of the first Test.
His solid performance that day earned him a Test debut at Cape Town where he marked 18-year-old Eastern Province flyer Fred Turner. McLean managed to keep Turner in check and in doing so became the number one choice on the Wallaby right wing for the remaining four internationals of that tour as well as the next five consecutive Tests through to the end of the 1936 season. In 1934 McLean was part of the first Australian side to win the Bledisloe Cup following a 1-0 series victory at home.
To mark the occasion, it was decided to present caps to the Australian players for the first time since 1914. As a result McLean had an Australian cap to complement the one earned by his father in 1904. Two years later McLean arrived in New Zealand in superb touch. By that time he had perfected the short chip and chase tactic and he used that skill to great effect during the tour. He played in all but one of the 10 matches and comfortably topped the try scorer list with 13. In doing so McLean emulated his father’s feat in 1905, and 36 years later his nephew, Jeff, was top try scorer on the 1972 Wallaby tour.
With the Springboks due to arrive in 1937 McLean once again followed in his father’s footsteps when he switched codes to play rugby league, with the Ipswich Starlights. Not surprisingly he was an instant success and later that year toured England with the Kangaroos. Doug McLean Jr. played 10 Tests for Australia in a four-year international career.
McLean won his first Test cap on the right wing, and fellow debutant ‘Jockey’ Kelaher started on the left wing, in the 1st Test, 3-17 loss to South Africa at Newlands. The two wingers retained their positions for each of the remaining four Tests of that series.
Kelaher and McLean were paired on the wings in both home Tests against New Zealand.
The Wallabies did not play a Test match in 1935.
McLean won his final three caps on the tour of New Zealand. He and Kelaher started in the two All Black Tests while Victoria’s Ru Dorr was McLean’s partner in the 31-6 victory over the Maori at Palmerston North.