Jordan McLean won't face Newcastle Knights

MELISSA WOODS
Last updated 19:54 08/08/2014
Jordan McLean
Getty
PREPARED FOR BACKLASH: Melbourne Storm player Jordan McLean, who was involved in the tackle that injured Alex McKinnon.

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Melbourne's Jordan McLean has avoided an emotional first clash at Newcastle since the tragic Alex McKinnon tackle after being ruled out of the match through injury.

The Storm said McLean had withdrawn from Saturday's match at Hunter Stadium because of a hamstring injury.

He did not train on Wednesday after pulling up sore from their win over the Wests Tigers on Monday night.

The club said medical staff were concerned McLean would not get through the game and his replacement would be named before kickoff.

McLean was suspended for seven weeks for a lifting tackle on McKinnon in round three at AAMI Park that left the Knights' forward with a broken neck and fighting to walk again.

Before the injury the Storm were concerned about the emotional toll the match could take on the young prop, unsure of how he would be received by the Knights faithful.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy said he hoped they would treat him with respect as he had been "dealing with his own demons".

Newcastle were awful in their 50-10 loss to Souths last round but with their line-up bolstered with the return of some key players, Bellamy was on guard.

The Knights also upset the Storm's title charge last year with a two-point win in the semi-final.

Winger Akuila Uate is returning from NSW Cup duty and injury while Jarrod Mullen (stomach muscle tear) also returns in at five-eighth in a move that results in Kurt Gidley returning to his favoured fullback position.

Prop Kade Snowden has also been named to play.

"In their last home game they beat the Roosters so that's pretty good form and they did it without a few of their players," Bellamy said.

"They're a stronger team this week and we're expecting a real tough outing."

Currently sixth, the Storm know they need to keep winning to be assured of a finals berth and a possible top four finish.

Bellamy said he believed a change in attitude was behind their recent improvement in defence.

"What has really happened is that everyone's accepted their role in defence and realised what they've got to do.

"Their attitude is now 100 per cent and it's made a big difference."

He said the team had finally found some consistency after some rollercoaster form through the year.

"We've been working hard and it looks like it's starting to come through with results on the field.

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"We need to keep working because we don't want to go back into old habits."

- AAP

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