Cowboys veteran set to continue NRL career
McLean, off-contract at the end of 2023, has been in limbo in recent times over his future, with seemingly no guarantee the Townsville-based side would extend his deal into another season.
The 32-year-old could well have found some interest from other clubs after an uptick in form over the last two seasons, the likes of which haven’t been seen since he left the Melbourne Storm at the end of 2017. McLean at one point was a Kangaroo.
According to News Corp, those last two seasons form will see the Cowboys offer McLean, who played his 200th game at the back end of the 2023 season, the chance to continue his career into 2024 with a one-year extension.
His 2022 season, which was his best in Cowboys colours, was so good that he was added to the New South Wales State of Origin squad at one point before injury ruled him out. It was a season where, in 22 games, he averaged 113 metres per game and tackled at almost 97 per cent.
The veteran, in a struggling Cowboys side, continued to be a solid face throughout 2023, putting up similar numbers to the ones he had achieved the year before.
Now likely to be on a cut-price deal, a contract for McLean works for the Cowboys who have big money tied up in the likes of Jeremiah Nanai, Valentine Holmes, Luciano Leilua, Reece Robson and Jason Taumalolo, and will need to make significant upgrades for Tom Dearden (off-contract end of 2024), Griffin Neame (off-contract end of 2025) and Heilum Luki (off-contract end of 2025) in the near future.
It also comes with another veteran in James Tamou electing to retire at the end of 2023 so the experience of McLean could also prove valuable over the next 12 months.