League: Storm coach urges Newcastle fans to go easy on young prop

Jordan McLean of the Storm. Photo / Getty Images
Jordan McLean of the Storm. Photo / Getty Images

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy is expecting Newcastle fans to show young prop Jordan McLean some respect when his NRL side faces the Knights at Hunter Stadium today.

It will be McLean's first visit to Newcastle since his involvement in the round three tackle that left Knight Alex McKinnon with a broken neck and in a wheelchair.

McLean was suspended for seven weeks for his role.

While the Storm considered leaving McLean out of the line-up with fears for his mental welfare, Bellamy said he was set to be included. He hoped Knights fans would show some understanding about what most consider to be a dreadful accident.

"We'd just like to think that Jordan, while he hasn't been through the same situation as Alex, he's been dealing with his own demons," Bellamy said.

"You'd like to think that he'll be treated with a bit of respect."

Bellamy said there were a few players, including McLean, who were battling minor injuries that meant they didn't train earlier in the week but he hoped to run the same line-up that belted Wests Tigers on Monday night.

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.

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 sees Kurt Gidley return to his favoured fullback position.

Prop Kade Snowden has also been named.

"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."

Lying 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.

- AAP

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