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Why did Storm make this decision?
After a review that commenced in 2014, a number of reasons were behind the decision, including: finding a competitive advantage in a highly competitive and unregulated market, player welfare due to relocating so many young players and costs borne from our location. We considered the pro’s and con’s of relocating the program but ultimately determined it was in both the short-term and long-term interest of the NRL side and the club to do so.

When will this take effect?
Storm Academy will commence training in the off-season and will compete in the 2016 NYC competition.

Where will Storm Academy play its home games?
Storm Academy matches will be played at Sunshine Coast Stadium as a curtain raiser to Queensland Cup fixtures involving Sunshine Coast Falcons unless determined otherwise by Storm / NRL in consultation with the Sunshine Coast Council. The team will also train at the Stadium which is world-class, has seven fields, a gym and pool.

What does the NRL think of the change?
The NRL has been kept informed along the way. The NRL itself is conducting a review of its own pathways and changes to the existing structures are expected at the end of 2016/17.

Who will run Storm Academy?
Matt Adamson will oversee the performance and development arm of the Storm Academy program, with Storm also employing coaching / operations / welfare staff, as well as other support staff. Staff members will be announced in due course. Matt has been in a Queensland Coaching Director role for the past 12 months.

What will be the pathways for young aspiring Victorian players?
Storm will guarantee places for elite Victorian talent at Storm Academy. Storm is also looking at a development squad for players aged 19-20 that wish to remain in Melbourne. This will assist their individual development and ultimately the local NRL Victoria competition. The Melbourne-based Under-16’s and Under-18’s teams will continue to play in an elite competition in the northern states.

What does this mean for curtain-raisers on a match day?
With the 20’s based in Queensland, we will ask the fans what they want – local games, exhibition game or a new 9’s competition, involving either local clubs or schools potentially? An alternative also exists where we could establish a carnival-like atmosphere outside in Gosch’s Paddock and play games there on a match day. 

The U20s are relocating, what would you like to see pre-match at AAMI Park in 2016?
Tell us in the Member Poll by following the link here.

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.