Melbourne Storm will host trial games on the Sunshine Coast and in Hobart as final preparations for the 2017 season.
In a bumper weekend of sport for the Sunshine Coast, Storm will play the Warriors on Saturday 11 February at Sunshine Coast Stadium, while netball team Sunshine Coast Lightning will also host trans-Tasman opponents Southern Steel on 10 and 12 February at the newly redeveloped USC Sports Stadium.
It will be the second time the Warriors have played on the Coast while Storm continues its close affiliation with the region, as the NYC Thunderbolts enter their second season on the Sunshine Coast and the Club’s feeder partnership with the Falcons. The Thunderbolts and Sunshine Coast Falcons will each play curtain raisers before Storm and the Warriors take to the field at 5pm.
Storm’s trial game will also coincide with the expected completion of a 10,000-seat redevelopment of Sunshine Coast Stadium.
Also for the first time in five years rugby league returns to Tasmania with Storm to host a trial match at North Hobart Oval against the Canterbury Bulldogs on February 18.
Storm last played a trial game in the Apple Isle against the Brisbane Broncos in 2012, in what turned out to be a premiership-winning year for the Club. The game will be Storm’s final hit out of the pre-season with Craig Bellamy looking to field a side with a clear eye on Round 1.
The Club will be holding open training sessions and community engagement activities in both Hobart and the Sunshine Coast in the lead up to each trial match.
These games will follow Storm’s participation in the Downer Auckland Nines Tournament that will take place at Eden Park across two days on February 4-5.
Melbourne has been drawn in the Rangitoto Pool against Newcastle Knights, Wests Tigers and Brisbane Broncos and will look to go one better than their semi-final appearance in 2016.
The Club’s Melbourne fans will also have their own day with the players during pre-season, at the annual Storm Family Day on February 19, with more information to come in the New Year.
Melbourne Storm’s 2017 pre-season match schedule
4 - 5 February
Eden Park, Auckland
Saturday 11 February
Sunshine Coast Stadium
1pm: Storm NYC Thunderbolts v ISC Sunshine Coast Falcons
2.45pm: ISC Sunshine Coast Falcons v Redcliffe Dolphins
5pm: Storm v New Zealand Warriors
Tickets to the NRL trial will be on-sale 10am (local time), Monday 28 November at Sunshine Coast Stadium website (www.sunshinecoaststadium.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au)
Saturday 18 February
Storm v Canterbury Bulldogs, 4.30pm
North Hobart Oval