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  1. #1
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    How ‘Magic’ made his mark

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    Michael McLean was just 16 years old when he left a familiar life in Darwin to chase his VFL dream.
    As a junior footballer in the Territory, he was a shining light. ‘Magic’ was destined for big things.

    Moving to Melbourne in the 80s, though, came with considerable challenges.
    “It was very daunting at the time. I was a very skinny 16-year-old when I left the Territory,” McLean told Bob Murphy and Marcus Bontempelli on The Barkly Street Podcast.

    “Everything was different for me. The change of lifestyle, the eating, the culture, the weather of course, and then on top of that, racism reared its ugly head as well.

    “It was all a bit of a shock for me. But I adjusted, I think, quite quickly.”
    Being accepted for having a different background became a big issue very quickly.

    Even his new team-mates, unaware of the impact their words might have, were guilty of crossing the line.
    “I was pretty uncomfortable. I was the lone ranger, and at 17 years of age,” he said.
    “I just stood up and said ‘enough is enough’. I’m a proud Indigenous person and this is not going to continue on.

    “Once that was knocked on the head it was fine with my team-mates, but in society it was certainly different for me.”
    McLean finished his career a star of the competition. He amassed 183 games combined for the Western Bulldogs and Brisbane Bears, won two best and fairest awards and became a member of the Indigenous Team of the Century.

    As his career was drawing to a close, McLean, along with several other strong Indigenous voices in the AFL industry, saw an opportunity to take a stand against racism.

    And it wasn’t just for the protection of Aboriginal players.
    “I had a meeting at the time with Tony Peek, Rod Austin and Ian Collins,” he said.

    “I was part of an article that was written where I mentioned we were going to start naming players who were repeat offenders, and they weren’t happy with it.

    “They said ‘what are we going to do about it?’ My suggestion at the time was get any nationality in here…and they’ll feel the same way as we do. I said ‘get (Tony) Liberatore in here, get Jose Romero in here. See how they feel’.

    “Ten days later we had a round table discussion, and to a person, they felt exactly the same way as us as Indigenous players.
    “That’s how the code of conduct came about. It was about equality. It wasn’t just for Indigenous players.”

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    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

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  3. #2
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    Re: How ‘Magic’ made his mark

    One of my favourite players from the 1980's. Wasn't happy when he went to the newly formed Bears
    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

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  5. #3
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    Re: How ‘Magic’ made his mark

    Loved Magic

    was devastated when he left. Superstar.

    His 85 finals series was sublime.
    Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgment.

  6. #4
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    Re: How ‘Magic’ made his mark

    Quote Originally Posted by The Doctor View Post
    Loved Magic

    was devastated when he left. Superstar.

    His 85 finals series was sublime.
    I was too young to follow him when He was at the dogs( unfortunately) , but when . He went to the bears his skills was sublime especially his kicking . Him and White were one of the reasons the the brisbane lions started to ascend

    I would put him on par with winmar for their skill and just timeless whenever he had the ball .

    I cannot imagine how tough it was for him with the climate, diet and racism back then.

  7. #5
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    Re: How ‘Magic’ made his mark

    The first time I saw him play he was still in the twos. And I knew hewould be a player. He had such a desire to chase down every opponent and to win the ball. And of course he had great skills. Wonderful player and man
    http://journals.worldnomads.com/merantau
    "It's not about the destination - it's about the trip."

  8. #6
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    Re: How ‘Magic’ made his mark

    Tireless, genuinely fearless and a generous dose of silk. Was but a pup at the time but that chapter when we boasted Magic & prime Hawk on alternate wings was a thing to behold.

    Love to see us offer #51 to Ugle-Hagan if he'll take it.
    BORDERLINE FLYING

  9. #7
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    Re: How ‘Magic’ made his mark

    Was pretty young when he was at the bulldogs, but remember him as a good, skillful footballer.

    Enjoyed his interview on the podcast - can't recall hearing him interviewed before - but fair to say he doesn't lack confidence!

  10. #8
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    Re: How ‘Magic’ made his mark

    Quote Originally Posted by bornadog View Post
    One of my favourite players from the 1980's. Wasn't happy when he went to the newly formed Bears
    #51 was my Basketball number because of Magic.

    Unfortunately I did not have the balls to wear that number on my Bullies jumper, given the in the 80's everyone had low-numbers. hence I went with #18 for Beasley.

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  12. #9
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    Re: How ‘Magic’ made his mark

    Quote Originally Posted by WBFC4FFC View Post
    #51 was my Basketball number because of Magic.

    Unfortunately I did not have the balls to wear that number on my Bullies jumper, given the in the 80's everyone had low-numbers. hence I went with #18 for Beasley.
    After Magic left the number 51 wasn't used till Steven Koops came along.

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  14. #10
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    Re: How ‘Magic’ made his mark

    Maybe Jamarra could wear it?

    would love to see Magic back at the club in some way
    Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgment.

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  16. #11
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    Re: How ‘Magic’ made his mark

    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog4life View Post
    After Magic left the number 51 wasn't used till Steven Koops came along.
    I loved that by Koops. What a fantastic gesture it was by him.

    Just showed how much the Indigenous players looked up to him, which i never really appreciated until Koops did that.

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  18. #12
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    Re: How ‘Magic’ made his mark

    Absolute gun
    Injuries curtailed him with us
    Both sides, and same skill set as Doug .
    Lovely bloke as well and just knew he’d go well in Brisbane

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