Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
Leonard McCankie

Known as
Len McCankie

8 November 1924

15 May 2003 (aged 78)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 16y 267d
Last game: 25y 291d

Height and weight
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 85 kg

Senior clubs
Footscray; North Hobart

Jumper numbers
Footscray: 27

Recruited from
Footscray (1951)

Len McCankie

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
North HobartTANFL1951-1953

AFL: 4,974th player to appear, 1,434th most games played, 4,977th most goals kickedFootscray: 280th player to appear, 69th most games played, 381st most goals kicked

After showing extraordinary promise as a schoolboy footballer, Len McCankie played briefly for North Footscray before moving to the VFL with Footscray, while still aged only 16, in 1941. He went on to play a total of 143 games for the Bulldogs over the ensuing 10 seasons, earning a reputation as a courageous, resilient and highly skilled footballer who almost invariably gave good value. Solidly built at 180 cm and 85 kg, he never shirked a physical challenge, and had pace to burn.

He could function equally well across half back or in the ruck, and was selected to represent the VFL in 1945 and at the 1947 Hobart carnival. Club vice-captain toward the end of his time at Footscray, McCankie was hopeful of being appointed coach in 1951 following the departure of Arthur Olliver. However, when this did not eventuate he made his disappointment evident by accepting an offer to captain-coach North Hobart.

Still aged only 26, McCankie gave the Robins three years of fine service, although it proved to be a comparatively meagre time for the club itself, with no premierships, and only one Grand Final appearance, during that time. In 1953 McCankie was appointed captain-coach of Tasmania's team at the Adelaide carnival, after which he became the first ever winner of the Lefroy Medal as the state's best and fairest player of the year.

Author - John Devaney


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* Behinds calculated from the 1965 season on.
+ Score at the end of extra time.