The Newcastle Knights have slammed the NRL for singling out Melbourne prop Jordan McLean for his role in the three-man tackle that has left Alex McKinnon with a serious spinal injury, saying brothers Jesse and Kenny Bromwich should have also faced a judiciary hearing.
McLean was found guilty of a dangerous throw and suspended for seven matches at Wednesday night’s judiciary hearing.
However the Knights are upset the two other tacklers in the incident that occurred in the sides’ round three clash at AAMI Park, Jesse and Kenny Bromwich, were not also charged by the NRL match review committee.
The Newcastle club have also blasted the NRL’s decision to allow the 22-year-old McLean to play in the Storm’s loss to Canterbury in Perth last weekend.
McLean’s judiciary hearing was postponed for a week out of respect for the McKinnon family and McLean was initially stood down from the round four clash with the Bulldogs. But the NRL later reversed that decision after Melbourne appealed.
In a club statement released late on Thursday, Newcastle expressed their frustration “with the inconsistencies in relation to the NRL judiciary following Jordan McLean”s seven-week suspension.
“The club is disappointed only McLean was charged,” the statement continued.
“His defence acknowledged the involvement of his two teammates in the tackle contributed to Alex’s injury, however they have escaped penalty.
“The club applaud the NRL’s decision to postpone the hearing while everyone focused on Alex’s recovery, however found it insensitive McLean was permitted to play before Wednesday’s hearing.
“While the club understands the length of suspension was always going to polarise opinion, the major disappointment lies in the grave inconsistencies of gradings, especially in comparison to recent cases.
“The club agrees there are no winners in this matter and will continue to lobby the NRL to drive change so there isn’t a reoccurrence of this devastating event.”
In his submissions during the two-and-a-half hour hearing at Rugby League Central at Moore Park, McLean’s defence counsel Nick Ghabar argued that the Bromwich brothers 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,” he said.
Ghabar also suggested McKinnon played a role in how the tackled ended up.
“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.”
That line of argument has also upset the Knights.
“The club takes great offence to suggestions Alex McKinnon contributed to his injury when he was totally helpless in a three-man tackle and left with no ability to protect himself,” the statement read.