Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy says suspended Storm prop Jordan McLean faces a “mental battle ahead”, as he struggles with his role in the tackle that has left Alex McKinnon with a serious spinal injury.
McLean sat stone-faced throughout Wednesday night’s judiciary hearing, in which he was given a seven-match NRL suspension after being found guilty of a dangerous throw.
In his first comments on the incident, Bellamy wrote in his column in The Weekend Australian on Saturday of the Storm’s plan to deal with McLean’s welfare.
Bellamy also wrote of the Storm’s desire to provide assistance to McKinnon and his family.
“Collectively, as a game, we are dealing with, and will continue to deal with the fallout of what in the opinion of many independent experts was an awful accident,” Bellamy wrote.
“We know that in sport inherent risk exists.
“Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean it makes it easier to deal with injury when it occurs. Everyone at the Melbourne Storm wishes Alex McKinnon a full recovery.
“Their road ahead is going to be a difficult one and, as a club, Storm has expressed an ongoing desire to provide assistance.
“Likewise, everyone at the Storm is also gathering around young Jordan McLean, a respectful, humble young man, who has always had a genuine affection and care for his teammates and family.
“We’ve developed and implemented a plan that will hopefully help Jordan with the mental battle ahead.
“We see it as important that he stays in Melbourne, surrounded by teammates who’ve been outstanding at supporting him in a very private and respectful way.
“He has no family in Melbourne, so his teammates and our support staff at Storm are diligent in playing that role.
“It’s important that he’s close to them at the moment.”
Bellamy also echoed Storm boss Mark Evans’s comments that “there are no winners in this”.
“It’s been a horrible time because of an awful accident that will have lasting consequences. And we understand that while we at the Storm have a tough job ahead helping Jordan back to normality, the Knights and Alex and his family have a much more difficult role to play in helping Alex in his recovery,” he wrote.