Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

McLennan Hungry for Title with Buccaneers HISTORY MAKER; McLennan Ready for Third Grand Final, 16 Years after His First for Buccaneers

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

McLennan Hungry for Title with Buccaneers HISTORY MAKER; McLennan Ready for Third Grand Final, 16 Years after His First for Buccaneers

Article excerpt

Byline: Matthew Elkerton matthew.elkerton@dailyexaminer.com.au

RUGBY UNION: Barely able to sit up on the bench after being knocked out in action, it was Mitch McLennan's heart that hurt the most.

The Yamba Buccaneers had come within one try of a historic grand final win against Grafton Redmen, and the young firebrand Number 8 promised himself he would never feel that way again.

That was 2002. Now, 16 years later, McLennan is not backing down on his promise as he lines up for his third grand final in the yellow and black of the Buccaneers.

"Not a lot has changed, the young fellas still go harder than the old ones. It's just now I am one of the older ones," he said.

"The nerves are still the same, you still get that buzz, I think it's half the reason I came back to the sport."

McLennan has been in two grand finals since that fateful day in 2002, winning with the Lower Clarence Magpies in 2009, and the Buccaneers the following season.

The 2010 grand final would actually be his last game of rugby, until his hunger to return became insatiable this season.

"I actually ruptured my knee in the grand final for Lower, and I didn't get to return to the field until halfway through that 2010 season," McLennan said.

"Since then I have had two ACL reconstructions in my right knee, and a cartilage clean-out in my left knee. I also had kids which takes up a lot of your spare time.

"I can't honestly say what spurred me to come back. I got through a season of touch football last year, and I was just driving past one day and thought I'd see if they were alright for numbers.

"I've played every game for the club since that day.

"I am glad I came back, I guess I never thought I was truly retired, it was just injuries that kept me out. But this will definitely be it for me."

McLennan has brought a welcomed experience to the Buccaneers bench, working in a rotation with the club's exciting forward pack. …

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