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'Magic' McLean to coach NT side in Queensland league

DUAL Brisbane Bears best and fairest winner Michael McLean will coach the Northern Territory side that will play in next year's AFLQ competition.

McLean, who is now coaching Southern Districts in the NTFL, will take over the side at the start of next month after being appointed to lead the club into its first season in Queensland.

"I'm rapt and excited to be appointed coach of the Northern Territory Football Club and I'm looking forward to the challenge," he said.

"This team is a great thing for the Northern Territory and is a really positive move for Northern Territory football.

"I'm sure the entire Northern Territory will be behind us and I especially look forward to the home games in Darwin and Alice Springs. I can't wait to get started."  

McLean is a well-known Territory footballing identity, having played 95 games for Footscray, 87 games for the Bears and one game for the newly-formed Lions in 1997 before being forced into retirement due to a calf injury.

Originally a product of Darwin's Nightcliff football club, McLean began his career in 1983 and picked up accolades including the Bears' best and fairest (1991 and 1993), induction into the AFL 200 Club and the Brisbane Lions/Fitzroy Hall of Fame, AFLNT life membership, captaincy of the 1994 Aboriginal All-Stars team, and a guernsey in the 1995 Indigenous AFL Team of the Century.

He coached Nightcliff from 2001 to 2006 before moving to Southern Districts where he won the club's first TIO NTFL premiership in the 2006/07 season.

McLean has also coached the Indigenous All-Stars three times (2003, 2005 and 2007), and the Indigenous All-Australian side in 2000.

He was named AFLNT coach of the year for the 2003/04, 2004/05 and 2006/07 seasons.

General manager of the NTFC, Stuart Totham, said the league was delighted to announce the appointment of McLean as the Territory's coach, and believed his life experience would encourage the players outside of football.

"Michael's playing and coaching career speaks for itself," he said.

"He is one of the Northern Territory's most decorated AFL Players and has built a reputation as one of the Territory's best coaches.

"The NTFC will not only provide opportunities for Northern Territory footballers to play State League Football, it will also provide employment and training opportunities for all listed players.

"All listed NTFC players are required to be either studying at school, TAFE or university, completing an apprenticeship or traineeship, or working in full-time employment.

"In addition to his playing and coaching credentials, Michael's professional background will also be a great asset to the NTFC through his extensive experience in youth worker roles with YMCA, YWCA and now with the Clontarf Foundation.

"Michael is one of the Northern Territory's own and we trust the Northern Territory will embrace and support Michael as the inaugural coach of the NTFC."