Newcastle Knights have released a statement following the seven week suspension handed down by the NRL judiciary to Jordan McLean.
The club expressed their frustration towards the NRL judiciary in an explosive statement criticising the singling out of McLean, with the match review committee failing to charge the other two involved in the three man tackle that went horribly wrong; Jesse and Kenny Bromwich.
Angry Newcastle officials released the statement late Thursday night, which outlined four aspects of Wednesdays hearing of McLean.
On Wednesday night, 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 said he does not mean to point blame towards McKinnon for what happened, but that he did play a significant and unfortunate role in the freak accident.
“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.”
Newcastle was upset by this, responding in the statement: “Firstly, 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.”
“Secondly, the Club is disappointed only McLean was charged. His defence acknowledged the involvement of his two teammates in the tackle contributed to Alex’s injury, however they have escaped penalty.”
Club officials were also upset that McLean was cleared to play last weekend, after being temporarily stood down, labelling the decision as “insensitive”.
“Thirdly, 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,” the statement continued.
McLean’s judiciary hearing was postponed for a week out of respect for the McKinnon family, with McLean initially stood down for the round four clash with the Bulldogs, however the NRL later reversed that decision after Melbourne appealed.
“The Club agrees there are no winners in this matter and will continue to lobby the NRL to drive change so this devastating event doesn’t occur again,” the statement read. – Luke Mahoney
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