SYDNEY - The NRL judiciary has come down hard on Jordan McLean, suspending the Melbourne Storm prop Jordan McLean for seven weeks for a lifting tackle on Alex McKinnon that left the Newcastle back-rower with a devastating spinal injury.
The three-man panel, comprising former Test players Bob Lindner, Mal Cochrane and Chris McKenna, needed less than 10 minutes to find McLean guilty after one of the most anticipated judiciary hearings in the game's long history.
After successfully convincing the panel of McLean's "substantial" involvement in the three-man tackle gone wrong, NRL counsel Peter Kite sought a ban of between seven and 11 weeks.
Kite said there was no suggestion McLean intended to lift McKinnon, but that he was certainly careless - and largely to blame.
As such he asked that the charge be considered between a grade one and grade three dangerous throw (125 to 525 points) with an additional 600 points for the seriousness of the injury.
The panel did not however explain how it determined the seven-week (725 points) suspension — two weeks more than Canterbury's Krisnan Inu received for a nasty lifting tackle on South Sydney superstar Greg Inglis last year.
McKinnon remains in Melbourne's The Alfred hospital in a serious but stable condition with a broken neck and facing the possibility of never being able to walk again.
He was brought out of an induced coma at the weekend following surgery last Tuesday for damage to his C4 and C5 vertebrae and has been conscious since.
McKinnon began communicating with his family on Sunday after his assisted ventilation was removed, but has reportedly been told he is a quadriplegic.
McLean's lawyer Nick Ghabar had pleaded not guilty to the dangerous throw charge levelled against the shattered front-rower, arguing McKinnon had been the victim of a "terrible and tragic accident".