By: JESS WEBSTER
Young gun McLean signs with NT Thunder
Wanderers best-and-fairest winner Braeden McLean will return to NT Thunder after a three-year absence.
The 22-year-old nephew of NT Team of the Century member and inaugural NT Thunder coach, Michael McLean, played 10 games for NT Thunder across 2011-2013.
McLean has notched up 80 NTFL Premier League games, and won a premiership and club best-and-fairest for Wanderers in the 2014-15 season, under new NT Thunder coach Andrew Hodges.
He will wear the number 19 jumper for NT Thunder, the same number his uncle wore at the Brisbane Bears and for part of his NT representative career.
The Darwin local has been named in the Top 100 for the Wanderers Team of the Century and is due to play his 50th game for the club in the coming weeks.
McLean spent last season playing for the Wonthaggi Power in the Gippsland League and was selected for the league’s representative team against Bendigo last year.
McLean said the lure of playing in front of Territory crowds and with some of his friends was a major draw card.
“I’m excited, firstly to play in front of family and friends at a high level and then to play with my best mates that I’ve grown up with but play against during the NTFL season,” he said.
“Thunder brings everyone together, and that’s what I look forward to.”
Hodges said it was great to have a McLean, a versatile midfielder and defender back in a representative jumper.
“It is fantastic to see a name synonymous with Territory football back representing the NT at this level,” he said.
“It’s awesome to have Braeden return to the footy club this year. He is a real Territory footy story, having come through all our AFLNT development programs and being a member of the team that won the 2012 National Championships.
“He is youthful in age but has a lot of experience, which is great for our list.”
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