Jordan McLean back after spear tackle ban

Nerves: Jordan McLean plays in the NSW Cup. Photo: James Brickwood

Nerves: Jordan McLean plays in the NSW Cup. Photo: James Brickwood

After making his return to rugby league from a nine-week exile over the ugly lifting tackle that left Alex McKinnon with severe spinal damage, Jordan McLean revealed he was yet to contact the Newcastle forward and said he hoped the game never had to contend with another injury like it.

But McLean also noted the game would be stuck with the kind of tackles that landed him with a seven-match suspension for the tackle on McKinnon. ''I think we are always going to have those kind of [lifting] tackles, but you have just got to try to minimise the outcome of what happens in those tackles,'' he said.

McLean, who recently re-signed with Melbourne for next season, made his comeback in Cronulla's 23-22 NSW Cup loss to Illawarra Cutters at WIN Stadium.

Despite the match being played before just a few hundred spectators he admitted to being more nervous than in any other game of his career.

The 22-year-old forward played 52 minutes in separate 26-minute stints and said afterwards he was glad to get the match out of the way, after he was thrust into the spotlight in the NRL's round three clash between the Storm and Knights at AAMI Stadium on March 24.

Despite being so distraught at the judiciary hearing that he spent most of the two-hour session staring at the floor, McLean said he accepted his punishment and had come to terms with his role in the tackle.

''No one wants to be in that situation, no one wants to see it in the game,'' McLean said.

Asked if he had been in touch with McKinnon, who is in the spinal unit of Royal North Shore Hospital, McLean responded: ''I am yet to contact him.''

According to Storm insiders, McLean has told friends at the club that he does not know what he would say to McKinnon if he contacted him. He politely declined to discuss whether he intended to do so in the future and said he was trying to get on with his career. ''I think it has all happened and I just want to start playing good footy again,'' he said.

''It felt good to get back out there. I was a bit nervous going into the game, I don't really get too nervous before games, even a little bit of nerves is probably a lot of nerves for me. Now the first game is out of the way I probably need to focus on the things that I thought I started the year off well with.''

McLean said he spent some time with family in Canberra to ''get my head straight'' after the incident and was grateful for the support he had received from the Storm, the NRL and fans across the game.

''Everyone has been really good,'' he said. ''Obviously the club has been really good, [football manager] Frank Ponissi, [coach] Craig Bellamy and all the staff have been good. The players have really supported me and a lot of the fans just from the rugby league community really have supported me and sent me nice messages on Facebook and that. I have had a lot of cards come to the club and it is really appreciated.''

This story Jordan McLean back after spear tackle ban first appeared on WA Today.