Melbourne Storm in partnership with the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) has been nominated by Netball Australia as a preferred bidder for one of three new team licences under their expansion plans. 

The consortium will now enter a final negotiation period with Netball Australia to finalise a team participation agreement for entry from 2017. 

Storm COO Danielle Smith represented the consortium at the launch of Netball Australia's revamped elite competition and broadcast announcement.

However, the consortium will only shift its focus to operational requirements should an agreement be finalised with Netball Australia. 

Storm’s partnership with the USC will strengthen the Club’s links to the Queensland market with both feeder teams based there (Brisbane Easts and Sunshine Coast). The Club’s Under-20's Thunderbolts are also based at Sunshine Coast Stadium.

Sunshine Coast Council is a key supporter of the project. 

Melbourne Storm CEO Dave Donaghy said: “We are excited by the opportunity to be part of the growth of netball - an elite women's sport in this country and internationally. This is another step forward in this process and we look forward to the final negotiation period given there is more work to be done. 

“We have a genuine and authentic interest in helping strengthen the pathway for the 6,600 plus players in the team's catchment area and give the region their first national sporting team."