Melbourne Storm has joined forces with the Sunshine Coast Falcons after finalising a feeder team relationship with the Queensland state league outfit for the next three years.
The Falcons will join Brisbane Easts as the Storm’s second feeder team. Storm players at the start of next season will be split into two groups that will see developing Melbourne players not selected in the NRL side play for their designated Intrust Super Cup side.
Storm’s partnership with the Falcons means the Club’s relationship with Cronulla in the NSW Cup will end at the end of 2014.
Melbourne Storm CEO Mark Evans said the partnering with two Queensland based feeder teams was an exciting proposition.
“The Club is excited to have partnered with the Falcons for 2015-17 as a feeder team of Melbourne Storm. We thank the Falcons for initiating the discussions and the QRL for their support,” Evans said.
“We believe partnering with two teams in the Intrust Super Cup competition allows us to streamline some of our operations as well as providing support to a traditional rugby league area.”
“We would like to thank the Cronulla Sharks and NSWRL for their support of our players over the last four seasons.
“Our relationship with Cronulla has been a very successful one and we wish them all the best.”
Sunshine Coast Falcons CEO Chris Flannery said: “We are extremely excited to be linking with one of the most professional and successful teams in the NRL.”
“This partnership will provide our local junior and senior players with a genuine pathway to the NRL as well as bring high quality Melbourne Storm players to the region to continue their development in the Intrust Super Cup.
“We look forward to working closely with the Melbourne Storm club over the next three years and thank them for buying into our vision for the local area.”
The Sunshine Coast is a passionate rugby league area with the local league incorporating 26 member clubs with in excess of 3,300 juniors and 1000 senior players registered for the current season.
Melbourne Storm has had a successful history of partnering with Queensland based teams.
The Club has been associated with Brisbane Easts for the past four seasons, having been affiliated with Brisbane Norths in the Club’s early years.
That relationship helped produce some of Storm’s current day superstars in Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk.