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Run hard, tackle hard: How MacDonald mastered a simple mantra

"Run hard, tackle hard."

It’s a mantra that has echoed throughout the walls of local rugby league fields across the country and for Alec MacDonald, it’s a statement he still tries to perfect every time he takes to the football field. 

While he might not be making headlines on your television sets, the softly spoken forward nicknamed ‘Chin’, is quickly earning the admiration of Storm fans for his gut-busting efforts and aggressive defending. 

This relentless work rate and unwavering ‘team-first’ mentality shown in his 35 games in the purple jersey so far, are no doubt traits fans saw in the some of the Club’s most successful unsung heroes, Dale Finucane, Tim Glasby and Dallas Johnson, just to name a few. 

Now in his third season in Storm colours, the former Wynnum Manly product initially burst onto the scene in 2022, earning a whirlwind NRL debut after coming down to the Club on a train and trial deal just a few months prior. 

While his no-fuss style of play meant MacDonald wasn’t always the first one picked in representative teams as junior, if at all, it was his never say die attitude that helped him excel in his first pre-season with the Club. 

“The boys who made all the junior representative teams like the Mal Meninga teams, when I couldn't make it, I used to think those guys were like freaks and idols to me,” MacDonald said. 

“I used to always say when I was younger when I couldn't make rep teams, that all I need to do is get a foot in the door and I'll work hard and make it from there. 

“I just kept at it and was lucky enough that Craig appreciated my work ethic and saw that I can work on the skill side of footy later, so it all worked out and now here I am.” 

Having made his NRL debut in Round 1 of the 2022 season, MacDonald is now on the eve of surpassing the 12 games he played in each of the past two seasons, having featured in every game for Storm this season. 

Not afraid to do the grunt work in the middle third of the field, the 22-year old said it was a simple message from his dad before junior games that has still stuck with him all these years later. 

"Growing up and I guess it's still the same now, it was just the old man saying run hard, tackle hard. 

“My games are probably just built off effort and being aggressive as I'm not the most skillful guy,” he said. 

Now settled on and off the field, especially since the arrival of the second half of the iconic ‘Jolec’ duo, Joe Chan, MacDonald said he couldn’t think of a better place to call home.

"When you're at Storm you can play your best footy and I think it was molded perfectly for me as the whole club is built on work ethic. 

“I remember thinking at the time, if I went to any other club and had a preseason, they might not have recognised that side of my game and more just thought ‘oh he's not skillful enough’ and then I wouldn't have got a second look. 

“I’m just really grateful that I got to come here and show them what I could do. 

“It’s definitely surreal [playing in the NRL] but now you just keep wanting more and more and time for looking back is when we finish the journey, so for now we just keep moving forward.” 

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.