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Newcastle forward McKinnon stretchered off

Newcastle utility forward Alex McKinnon has been put in a neck brace and stretchered from the field in their NRL clash with Melbourne.

The 22-year-old landed on his head in an awkward tackle by Storm forwards Jesse Bromwich, his brother Kenny and Jordan McLean.

The tackle, which happened 30 seconds from halftime, was put on report by referee Gerard Sutton.

The Storm were also penalised, with Kurt Gidley closing the margin to 18-10 with a penalty goal.

Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith protested that the tackle was made worse by McKinnon ducking his head.

"I don't want to see that happen to anyone in our game but if he doesn't duck his head it doesn't happen," Smith told the referee.

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