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Storm may challenge Jordan McLean's penalty

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Alex McKinnon wakes to tragic news

Newcastle Knights forward has been roused from an induced coma and told he may never walk again after an on-field accident. Nine News.

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Jordan McLean will serve a seven-game suspension after he was found guilty of a dangerous throw charge on Newcastle's Alex McKinnon that has left him in hospital with a spinal injury.

A clearly distraught McLean was handed the 725-point suspension on Wednesday night, however the judiciary panel comprising of former players Bob Lindner, Mal Cochrane and Chris McKenna wouldn't provide a breakdown of what part the injury to McKinnon played in the suspension.

Given it was referred straight to the judiciary, it's unknown whether McLean was handed a grade one suspension (125 points) with 600 point loading, a grade two suspension (325 points) with a 400 point loading, a grade three suspension (525 points) with a 200 point loading or a grade four suspension (725 points) without loading.

Melbourne Storm forward Jordan McLean with his lawyer Nick Ghabar at Wednesday night's judiciary hearing.

Melbourne Storm forward Jordan McLean with his lawyer Nick Ghabar at Wednesday night's judiciary hearing. Photo: Steve Lunam

Melbourne chief executive Mark Evans fronted the media following the hearing, and while he threw his full support behind McKinnon, believes the seven-game suspension was over the top, and hinted the club would appeal against the ban that has rubbed McLean out until round 13 against the Roosters.

"The first point we want to make is, along with everyone in rugby league, it's really important that the future and all of our best goes to the young fellow who is still very seriously injured," Evans said.

"That can't be obscured by anything that happens in the disciplinary process. We came here tonight with Jordan feeling that the tackle that led to the terrible accident was really no different to hundreds of tackles you see like that in the NRL every season.

Eye of the Storm: Melbourne CEO Mark Evans faces the media after the NRL judiciary hearing.

Eye of the Storm: Melbourne CEO Mark Evans faces the media after the NRL judiciary hearing. Photo: Steve Lunam

"There's been a due process and a sentence has been handed down. We're going to think of our position as a club over the next few days. As I say, there aren't really any winners in this and there was never going to be. I think it's really important this sport doesn't lose sight of that."

It was arguably the most sensitive and emotional judiciary hearing in the NRL's history, with McLean's defence counsel forced to plead his innocence over a tackle that left McKinnon with a broken neck and a long and arduous battle to walk again.

The 22-year-old McLean, sitting alongside Evans, couldn't watch the evidence as it was presented repeatedly from all eight television angles and in slow motion.

The stunned and silent McLean sat there staring at the desk in front of him, unable to turn his head from that position for the most part of the hearing as the tackle was continuously replayed and dissected.

NRL judiciary counsel Peter Kite said the tackle was worth a grade two to three as a base charge, while the Storm's legal representative Nick Ghabar viewed it as grade one.

Ghabar argued that it wasn't McLean's fault that McKinnon ended up in a dangerous position despite lifting his leg, suggesting McKinnon played a part.

"I do not mean to apportion blame to him for what has happened to him," Ghabar said.

"What I mean to say is he has unfortunately and unwittingly and undoubtedly played a significant part in how this tackle ended up. My ultimate submission will be that this is a tragic accident, and whatever Alex did in this tackle he did as part of a tragic accident. That's purely what it was.

"Although there was a lift at the start of the tackle, that lift on itself doesn't place Alex into a dangerous position. If Alex had kept his head in the same position, there's no way he could have got his head in a dangerous position if he'd kept his head in the same position [as he was at the highest point of the tackle]."

McLean wasn't the only person in the tackle, with Ghabar also arguing that brothers Kenny and Jesse Bromwich also contributed to the dangerous position McKinnon ended up in.

"They were applying weight and pressure in a downward direction on the back of Alex McKinnon," Ghabar said.

It took the three-man panel just 10 minutes to find McLean guilty, while deliberation of the grading took a lot longer, with Lindner, Cochrane and McKenna, who were also given a medical report of McKinnon's condition, taking 30 minutes to reach their decision.

McLean was placed on report for the tackle at AAMI Park but was referred straight to the judiciary given the sensitivity surrounding the tackle.

He was originally stood down from the Storm's next game until his hearing, which had also been postponed out of respect for McKinnon and his family.

However, the NRL granted the forward an exemption to play in last Saturday night's game against the Bulldogs in Perth, with Melbourne seeking leave directly from the NRL judiciary chairman, adamant it was the best thing for McLean's wellbeing.

McKinnon fractured his C4 and C5 vertebrae, and is now conscious after being placed in an induced coma for a week following surgery at Melbourne's Alfred Hospital.

241 comments

  • No problem with the guilty verdict, he was guilty of a dangerous tackle but the sentence should have nothing to do at all with the injury suffered by the KcKinnon lad. There was no intent to cause the injury suffered so the sentence should be exactly the same as any other similar offence of a dangerous tackle.

    Commenter
    RTP
    Location
    Sawtell
    Date and time
    April 02, 2014, 7:49PM
    • That's not what the NRL said about the Snowden tackle last year, the nature of the injury affected the length of the sentence.

      Meanwhile SBW put on what was a far more vicious hit on Willie Mason. Completely full of intent and only copped 2 weeks. Even though Willie played on he was out after that for four games.

      So the only thing we can be sure of here is that the NRL's lack of consistency in the past will ensure that whatever sentence is handed down there will be a lot of disgruntled fans one way or another.

      Commenter
      Seano
      Date and time
      April 02, 2014, 8:11PM
    • @RTP - as a Knights fan who has come to realise that there are times in footy where winning and getting 2 points are two different things (I wanted us to win over the Sharks for Alex, the 2 points was meaningless and still feels meaningless heading into round 5) I completely agree. This was a tragic accident. The last thing we should do is condemn McLean by giving him a lengthy stint on the sidelines. We need to move forwards with positivity despite our hurt. Positivity for McKinnon first and foremost, but also for McLean.

      Commenter
      tish
      Date and time
      April 02, 2014, 8:23PM
    • The fact that the NRL interpret it that way does not make it right, so the NRL are leaning toward the view that if you dont cause injury it's OK? Not an intelligent argument, intent should be what's punished.

      Commenter
      Steve
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      April 02, 2014, 8:29PM
    • So a dangerous through is now worth a mandatory seven matches

      Commenter
      RTP
      Location
      sawtell
      Date and time
      April 02, 2014, 9:05PM
    • WTF!!!!! He's In a wheelchair for life & McLean ban for life...... How would he feel if he was paralysed for life......

      Commenter
      Not happy jan
      Date and time
      April 02, 2014, 9:22PM
    • Yeah way to go RTP - let's not make the penalty fit the crime.

      Commenter
      the_Truth
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      April 02, 2014, 9:28PM
    • @RTP - in the criminal justice system, it very much matters on the outcome of what you did. If you punch someone, you could have no worries if they walk away, but could be up for more serious trouble in line with the outcome of any injury suffered by the person you punch.

      So why shouldn't the injury caused by McLean's illegal act be taken into account when sentencing?

      Commenter
      ST
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      April 02, 2014, 10:04PM
    • There was no crime - the_ truth (bad pseudonym). An instantaneous tackle in a super-fast game ended in a sad result . Don't crucify the boy.

      Commenter
      RTP
      Location
      Sawtell
      Date and time
      April 02, 2014, 10:09PM
    • It's a viscous dangerous game. Full stop.

      Commenter
      Robbiepb
      Date and time
      April 02, 2014, 10:18PM

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NRL Season 2015

Round 1
Thu, 05 MarTimes shown AEDT
BRI 6vs SOU 36 Report Stats
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
PAR 42vs MAN 12 Report Report Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW 24vs NZW 14 Report Stats
GCT 18vs WST 19 Report Stats
NQL 4vs SYD 28 Report Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
PEN 24vs CBY 18 Report Stats
CRO 20vs CBR 24 Report Stats
Mon, 09 MarTimes shown AEDT
STG 4vs MEL 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
CBY 32vs PAR 12 Report Stats
CRO 2vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
PEN 40vs GCT 0 Report Stats
MAN 24vs MEL 22 Stats
NQL 14vs NEW 16 Report Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
SOU 34vs SYD 26 Stats
CBR 6vs NZW 18 Report Stats
Mon, 16 MarTimes shown AEDT
WST 22vs STG 4 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
MAN 12vs CBY 16 Report Stats
BRI 44vs NQL 22 Report Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW 29vs PAR 16 Report Stats
CBR 20vs STG 22 Report Stats
MEL 36vs CRO 18 Report Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
SOU 20vs WST 6 Report Stats
GCT 18vs NEW 20 Report Stats
Mon, 23 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD 20vs PEN 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
PAR 29vs SOU 16 Report Stats
WST 24vs CBY 25 Report Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW 26vs PEN 14 Report Stats
CRO 22vs GCT 24 Report Stats
STG 12vs MAN 4 Report Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW 16vs BRI 24 Report Stats
SYD 34vs CBR 6 Report Stats
Mon, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
NQL 18vs MEL 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
CBY 17vs SOU 18 Report Stats
GCT 16vs BRI 26 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MAN 16vs CBR 29 Report Stats
NEW 0vs STG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
SYD 12vs CRO 20 Report Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
PAR 6vs WST 22 Report Stats
MEL 30vs NZW 14 Report Stats
PEN 10vs NQL 30 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 22vs SYD 18 Report Stats
CRO 22vs NEW 6 Report Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
PAR 16vs GCT 38 Report Stats
NZW 32vs WST 22 Report Stats
PEN 22vs MAN 12 Report Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
CBR 10vs MEL 14 Report Stats
STG 31vs CBY 6 Report Stats
Mon, 13 AprTimes shown AEST
SOU 12vs NQL 30 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY 28vs MAN 16 Report Stats
STG 12vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
GCT 32vs PEN 6 Report Stats
NQL 28vs NZW 24 Report Stats
MEL 17vs SYD 16 Report Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
WST 22vs CBR 30 Report Stats
NEW 22vs PAR 28 Report Stats
Mon, 20 AprTimes shown AEST
CRO 18vs SOU 10 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY 14vs WST 38 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
NZW 28vs GCT 32 Report Stats
NEW 24vs NQL 26 Report Stats
SYD 12vs STG 14 Report Stats
MEL 10vs MAN 12 Stats
BRI 28vs PAR 16 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
PEN 26vs CRO 18 Stats
SOU 22vs CBR 30 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 8vs PEN 5 Report Stats
SYD 36vs WST 4 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR 56vs GCT 16 Stats
CRO 16vs NZW 20 Stats
NQL 23vs CBY 16 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN 30vs NEW 10 Stats
PAR 10vs MEL 28 Stats
Mon, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU 16vs STG 10 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
CBY 10vs SYD 24 Stats
NQL 31vs BRI 20 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
PAR 13vs NZW 17 Report Stats
GCT 22vs CRO 23 Report Stats
MEL 16vs SOU 12 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
STG 32vs CBR 18 Report Stats
NEW 22vs WST 12 Stats
Mon, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN 10vs PEN 11 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU 14vs PAR 12 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
WST 0vs NQL 8 Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR 34vs CBY 41 Stats
Mon, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
NEW 18vs BRI 31 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
PEN vs PAR 19:45Pepper Stadium
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
GCT vs SOU 15:00Cbus Super Stadium
CBR vs BRI 17:30GIO Stadium
NQL vs MAN 19:301300 Smiles Stadium
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
NZW vs NEW 14:00MSS
STG vs CRO 16:00Jubilee Oval
Mon, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs MEL 19:00AS
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI vs MAN 19:35SUN
WST vs GCT 19:35VAS
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW vs CBR 15:00HS
SOU vs NZW 17:30nib Stadium
PEN vs MEL 19:30Pepper Stadium
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
CRO vs SYD 16:00Remondis Stadium
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY vs STG 16:00ANZ
PAR vs NQL 19:00Pirtek Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
WST vs SOU 19:45ANZ
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW vs SYD 18:00MSS
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
GCT vs CBY 16:00Cbus Super Stadium
Mon, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL vs PAR 19:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
MAN vs WST 19:45BO
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CBR vs NQL 15:00GIO Stadium
GCT vs NZW 17:30Cbus Super Stadium
CBY vs PEN 19:30ANZ
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW vs CRO 14:00HS
MEL vs BRI 16:00AAMI
Mon, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
STG vs SYD 19:00AS
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI vs NEW 19:35SUN
SOU vs MAN 19:35ANZ
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW vs CBR 15:00MSS
NQL vs CRO 17:301300 Smiles Stadium
PAR vs STG 19:30Pirtek Stadium
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs GCT 14:00AS
WST vs PEN 16:00VAS
Mon, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY vs MEL 19:00Belmore Sports Ground
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Round 17
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN vs SOU 19:45Pepper Stadium
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
STG vs NQL 19:30WIN
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN vs CRO 16:00BO
Mon, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
WST vs PAR 19:00ANZ
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Round 18
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR vs NEW 19:45GIO Stadium
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN vs SYD 17:30Pepper Stadium
CBY vs BRI 19:30ANZ
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW vs MEL 14:00MSS
CRO vs STG 16:00Remondis Stadium
Mon, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
GCT vs MAN 19:00Cbus Super Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
PAR vs CBY 19:35ANZ
MEL vs PEN 19:35AAMI
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR vs CRO 15:00GIO Stadium
NEW vs GCT 17:30HS
STG vs SOU 19:30SCG
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs NZW 14:00AS
BRI vs WST 16:00SUN
Mon, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN vs NQL 19:00BO
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
BRI vs GCT 19:35SUN
WST vs SYD 19:35ANZ
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW vs MAN 15:00MSS
SOU vs NEW 17:30ANZ
MEL vs STG 19:30AAMI
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN vs CBR 14:00Pepper Stadium
CBY vs CRO 16:00Belmore Sports Ground
Mon, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
NQL vs PAR 19:001300 Smiles Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Thu, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW vs CRO 22:00MSS
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
NQL vs CBR 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
STG vs NEW 00:00Jubilee Oval
SOU vs PEN 00:00ANZ
SYD vs CBY 00:00AS
MAN vs BRI 00:00TBA
WST vs MEL 00:00VAS
GCT vs PAR 00:00Cbus Super Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Thu, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW vs STG 22:00MSS
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs CBY 00:00SUN
NEW vs SYD 00:00HS
CBR vs WST 00:00GIO Stadium
MAN vs SOU 00:00BO
CRO vs NQL 00:00Remondis Stadium
MEL vs GCT 00:00AAMI
PAR vs PEN 00:30TIO
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Thu, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs STG 00:00SUN
CBY vs GCT 00:00TBA
NQL vs SOU 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
PEN vs NZW 00:00Pepper Stadium
CBR vs MAN 00:00GIO Stadium
SYD vs PAR 00:00AS
CRO vs MEL 00:00Remondis Stadium
WST vs NEW 00:00CSS
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Wed, 19 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW vs NQL 22:00MSS
Thu, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
STG vs PEN 00:00WIN
SOU vs CBY 00:00ANZ
SYD vs BRI 00:00AS
MAN vs PAR 00:00BO
CRO vs WST 00:00Remondis Stadium
MEL vs NEW 00:00AAMI
GCT vs CBR 00:00Cbus Super Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 25
Thu, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
PAR vs CRO 00:00Pirtek Stadium
NEW vs CBY 00:00HS
SOU vs BRI 00:00AS
CBR vs PEN 00:00GIO Stadium
MAN vs SYD 00:00BO
MEL vs NQL 00:00AAMI
WST vs NZW 00:00CSS
GCT vs STG 00:00Cbus Super Stadium
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Round 26
Thu, 03 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI vs MEL 00:00SUN
CBY vs NZW 00:00ANZ
NQL vs GCT 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
STG vs WST 00:00ANZ
PAR vs CBR 00:00Pirtek Stadium
PEN vs NEW 00:00Pepper Stadium
SYD vs SOU 00:00AS
CRO vs MAN 00:00Remondis Stadium
View All Fixtures
NRL Ladder 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D Pts
Melbourne Storm 10 7 3 0 16
Brisbane Broncos 11 8 3 0 16
St George-Illawarra Dragons 10 7 3 0 16
North Queensland Cowboys 11 8 3 0 16
Sydney Roosters 10 5 5 0 12
South Sydney Rabbitohs 11 6 5 0 12
Warriors 10 5 5 0 12
Penrith Panthers 10 5 5 0 12
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