Alex McKinnon has let go of any hate toward Cameron Smith after being left a quadraplegic by horror tackle – as the Melbourne Storm great prepares for what could be a glorious NRL farewell
- Alex McKinnon, 28, has revealed he holds no hard feelings for Cameron Smith
- Smith’s horror tackle during a 2014 match left McKinnon a quadriplegic
- McKinnon said he has ‘no emotion’ towards the Melbourne Storm captain
- McKinnon has since forgiven Smith and said ‘holding onto hate’ is wasted energy
Alex McKinnon has revealed he bears no ill will towards Cameron Smith six years on from the horror tackle that left the rising NRL star a quadriplegic.
The former Newcastle Knights second-rower fractured his C4 and C5 vertebrae after falling awkwardly in a tackle during a game against the Melbourne Storm in 2014.
In the aftermath, the ever competitive Smith argued with the referee about whether the penalty given against his side for the tackle was correct.
Smith has previously said he was ‘comfortable’ with his actions on the field that night and never felt that he had crossed the line with his conduct.
His behaviour angered McKinnon and his family, but the 28-year-old told The Sydney Morning Herald this week he now has ‘no emotion’ when it comes to Smith – who will lead his Melbourne Storm side out in another NRL Grand Final on Sunday night.
Alex McKinnon (pictured with his daughter and wife Teigan Power) revealed he bears no ill will for Cameron Smith six years after the NRL star’s horror tackle left him a quadriplegic
Smith (centre) came under fire for arguing with the referee as McKinnon laid motionless on the ground following the horror tackle
‘I have forgiven everything that happened straight after the tackle, his response – I have forgiven him. It’s hard to hold on to hate. It really is. It’s wasted energy. It’s blinding,’ he said.
‘At its worst, it can consume you and I’ll admit it did for a while there. There is no positive to being like that and, for that reason, I have moved past it and I hold no hard feelings at all.’
But McKinnon, who in 2015 said he was ‘disgusted’ by Smith’s reaction to the tackle that ended his career, said it wasn’t as easy for his family to forgive the 37-year-old.
‘The hard thing was for my family, my dad, to let it go. But I told them it didn’t do any of us any good at all to keep the hate. I talked with them about how it does not help anyone. And the family has been able to put it all to one side,’ McKinnon said.
Smith came under fire for arguing with the referee as McKinnon laid motionless on the ground following the horror tackle.
He was heard to say: ‘I don’t want to see that happen to anyone in our game but, if he (McKinnon) doesn’t duck his head that doesn’t happen’.
Smith continued to argue with the referee even after McKinnon cried out ‘I can’t feel anything’ and was stretchered off the field.
The Melbourne Storm defended their captain’s actions, saying: ‘At the time of this tragic accident, no one on the field had any idea of the severity of the injury Alex had suffered’.
In 2016 Smith (pictured with his wife Barbara) revealed he had spoken to McKinnon about the incident – but the contents of their discussion remain private
The former Newcastle Knights second-rower fractured his C4 and C5 vertebrae after falling awkwardly in a tackle during a game against the Melbourne Storm in 2014
In 2016 Smith revealed he had spoken to McKinnon about the incident – but the contents of their discussion remain private.
‘We’ve sorted through any sort of differences, if there even were differences, we’ve had a conversation and from my end, I’m certainly happy with where things are at,’ Smith said at the tine.
Smith also said the furore caused by the show may have ‘steeled’ him and helped him focus on playing.
‘For me, my focus was just on the team. I spoke to the boys about that. I just wanted to reassure them that I was okay,’ he said.