Coronavirus: Melbourne Storm to relocate to Albury ahead of NRL return

Omnisport

Melbourne Storm will relocate to the New South Wales border to prepare for the resumption of the NRL season.

The Storm will initially set up their training camp in the NSW border town of Albury, with the coronavirus-hit NRL campaign set to return on May 28.

COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria have forced the Storm to travel outside of the state after the NRL season was postponed through just two rounds on March 23.

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The Storm, who took part in Monday's educational workshop with all 16 clubs ahead of a return to training activities on Wednesday, will train privately at the Albury Thunder rugby league ground and have sole use of an accommodation venue.

"We would like to thank the Victorian Government for the consideration they gave to having our team remain in Victoria, but ultimately we understand why that is not possible at this time," said Storm chief executive Dave Donaghy, who added the training base would be re-assessed at the end of the first week.

"We also thank the NSW Government for their support of the temporary arrangements that have been put in place for Melbourne Storm in Albury.

"Internally, we have agreed that Albury presents the best option for our opening training week as the team prepares for the recommencement of the season.

"As challenging as it may be, the team will head to Albury with a positive mindset and use the camp as a way to reconnect with each other after a six-week hiatus.  

"Of course, we will continue discussions with the Government about options in Victoria beyond then and we hope to return to AAMI Park soon.

"Our thanks also go to everyone at Albury who has helped us with arrangements for this camp, as well as the various people we have been in contact with at Mulwala-Yarrawonga, which ultimately was not possible due to the location of the training oval."

The Storm's training group will include 32 players and 18 football department staff as Donaghy added: "With the help of the NRL, we will be implementing stringent health and safety protocols for our players and staff to protect their health, and that of the community, as well as providing the best possible training environment.

"During the period until Project Apollo restrictions are eased, all of our players will have their health closely monitored daily, and will be in their accommodation in Albury, or back at their home in Melbourne, unless at club training or match day. 

"This will be unlike any camp the club has ever done previously and our players are already well aware of that. And while we know we have many members and fans in the Albury region, unfortunately, because of the strict restrictions, our players and training venue will be off limits to the public. We're sure they will understand the reasons why and like us are very much looking forward to the season recommencing at the end of the month."

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