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North mourns McKenzie

Dinny Navaratnam  January 9, 2018 2:11 PM

Former North Melbourne star and long-time Carlton administrator Keith McKenzie died on Monday after a long battle with illness, aged 95.

The left-footed wingman played 130 games for the Kangaroos in 1944-51, winning the 1947 best and fairest, and represented Victoria in a further seven matches.

He went on to coach the Kangaroos in 1967-70 before serving as an assistant for Carlton's 1972 premiership-winning side, and then eventually became general manager of the Blues.

McKenzie served in the Australian air force in World War II alongside former Prime Minister John Gorton.

He told in 2013 a football legend convinced him to come down to the Blues. 

"In 1971, Ron Barassi asked me to join him as his assistant at Carlton and I knew then what I never had. I found Barassi's coaching the ultimate … it changed me from a fellow who was dejected and disappointed at not being successful as a coach to a winner in a club which had a tradition of success," McKenzie said.

"It (coaching) was a learning curve at North Melbourne and unfortunately I lost a bit of self-respect in my own right, but it was a case of when one door closes another opens, and I put it down to Barass and Carlton, who were marvellous to me. 

"It's why I've never forgotten Carlton and why I've stayed with Carlton all my life."