Paul McLean (rugby union)

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Paul McLean
Full name Paul Edward McLean
Date of birth (1953-11-12) 12 November 1953 (age 60)
Place of birth Ipswich, Queensland
School Nudgee College
St Edmund's College
Notable relative(s) Doug Sr. (grandfather)
Bill, Jack, Doug Jr. (uncles)
Jeff (brother), Peter (cousin)
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Fly-half, Fullback, Centre
Professional / senior clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1972–1982 Brothers Old Boys
Provincial/State sides
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1973–1982 Queensland 100 1000
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1974–1982 Australia 31 263

Paul Edward McLean MBE (born 12 November 1953) is an Australian former rugby union player. He played for Queensland and Australia in the 1970s and 80s. McLean is a former President of the Australian Rugby Union, and an inductee into the Australian Rugby Union Hall of Fame.[1]

Family and early life[edit]

Paul McLean is part of the famous Queensland McLean family of which seven family members have represented Australia in rugby union or rugby league.[1][2]

His grandfather Doug McLean, Sr. and uncle Doug McLean, Jr. were dual code internationals who played for the Wallabies and Kangaroos. His uncle Bill McLean captained the Wallabies in the wake of World War II and his uncle Jack McLean toured with the Wallabies in 1946. His brother Jeff McLean and cousin Peter McLean also played for the Wallabies.[3]

Paul McLean was born on born 12 November 1953 in Ipswich, Queensland to Bob and Irene McLean. He attended St Edmund's College in Ipswich and Nudgee College in Brisbane.[2]

Rugby career[edit]

Paul McLean made his debut for the Queensland rugby team in 1973, and quickly progressed to make his Wallaby debut the following year against the All Blacks. He made 31 career test appearances between 1974 and 1982.[2]

He was a world-class goal kicker and at his prime there was no better tactical kicker in the game. He was also a gifted runner and passer when he took those options although later in his career critics were regularly calling for Mark Ella's more obvious running game to be brought into the Wallaby side. McLean played mostly at fly-half for the Wallabies but on some occasions was shifted to fullback or centre to make way for fly-half rivals Tony Melrose, Ken Wright and Mark Ella.[2]

Paul McLean captained Australia on one occasion, leading the team to a 22–9 win against Fiji in Suva in 1980.[4] In his 1982 farewell season, McLean reached 1,000 points for Queensland in his 100th and final game. He also scored 21 points against Scotland in his final Test match, which was the Australian individual record at that time.[1][2]

Brisbane newspaper journalist Hugh Lunn recorded the following on McLean's career in The Australian:

Paul McLean played 31 Test matches for Australia and 100 for Queensland; he won the rugby premiership for his school (St Joseph's, Nudgee) with a 55m penalty kick; Brothers club lost only one of the eight grand finals in which he played; he scored exactly 1000 points for Queensland in his 100th match in the last match of Queensland Rugby's Centenary year; he kicked 14 consecutive goals against Wales on their Australian tour; he holds the individual Australian point-scoring record for a Test match of 21 points and he is the greatest point scorer in the history of Australian Rugby Union.[5]

On the day of Paul McLean's final game for Queensland, the main grandstand at Ballymore was named the McLean Stand in honour of the contributions from the McLean family to Queensland rugby and Australian rugby.[3]


McLean took up a position as sales manager in the Brisbane office of Ansett in 1982 and rose to become the state manager in the space of a year. He later moved into commercial real estate with FPD Savills.[3]

McLean was president of the Queensland Rugby Union for six years from late 1999 to 2005. In April 2005 he was appointed as president of the Australian Rugby Union, a position he held for nearly five years until 2009.[1]

In 2011, McLean was inducted into the Australian Rugby Union Hall of Fame.[1][4]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Queensland's Paul McLean inducted into Wallaby Hall of Fame". 25 August 2011. Archived from the original on 20 May 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Meares, Peter (2002). "Legends of Australian Sport: The Inside Story". University of Queensland Press. p. 164. Archived from the original on 20 May 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Meares (2002), pp. 166–167.
  4. ^ a b Harris, Bret (25 August 2011). "Paul McLean latest inductee into Hall of Fame". The Australian. Archived from the original on 24 May 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2013. 
  5. ^ Swannell, Cate (27 August 2008). "Oh to be a Queenslander!". Archived from the original on 24 May 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2013.