McLinden playing for Harlequins RL in 2007
|Born||8 July 1979|
Canberra, ACT, Australia
|Height||176 cm (5 ft 9 1⁄2 in)|
|Weight||86 kg (13 st 8 lb)|
|Position||Fullback, Five-eighth, Halfback|
Mark McLinden (born 8 July 1979) is an Australian former professional rugby footballer of the 1990s and 2000s. He played rugby league in the National Rugby League (NRL) for Australian club, the Canberra Raiders and in the Super League for English club the London Broncos/Harlequins RL, whom he also captained. A Country New South Wales representative backline player, McLinden finished his career in 2009 with a few rugby union games for the Queensland Reds in Super Rugby.
McLinden was born in Canberra, ACT, and played his early rugby at West Belconnen Warriors in the Canberra District Junior Rugby League. While attending Hawker College, McLinden played for the Australian Schoolboys team in 1996 and 1997.
Rugby league career
In 1998, McLinden signed to play in the NRL for his local team Canberra Raiders. Following an impressive début season, Mark was named NRL Rookie of the Year, and later won the Raiders' player of the year award.
He also received representative honours with selection for the Australian Junior Kangaroos squad to play tests against the Junior Kiwis. In 2001 McLinden was selected to play in the City vs Country Origin for Country. During his 7 seasons at the Canberra Raiders, McLinden made 165 appearances, featuring in 5 play-off series.
McLinden signed for the London Broncos in November 2004 and was appointed team captain following on from Jim Dymock. During 2005's Super League X, his first in the Super League, Mark showed his versatility by appearing at fullback, halfback or hooker.
In 2006's Super League XI, with his club now operating as the Harlequins RL, Mark was the club's leading Super League try scorer with 14 tries from 17 appearances. His season was, however, disrupted by a persistent back injury which required an operation in late 2006.
McLinden had played much of his career at halfback, and with the arrival of Great Britain international fullback Chris Melling at the Harlequins RL he played several games of 2007's Super League XII in the halves.
McLinden signed a three-year extension to his contract to keep him at Harlequins until the end of the 2009 season. However, in 2008 he suffered from a long debilitating illness which caused him to lose a lot of weight. As a result, he barely featured in Super League and he was released at the end of the year.
Rugby union career
He played rugby union for the Queensland Reds. He scored his first Super 14 try in his side's 22-3 win over South Africa's Cheetahs at Suncorp Stadium. Just before the 2009/10 Super 14 season he retired from the game due to medical advice.
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