As you are no doubt aware, the NRL last night announced it will indefinitely suspend the 2020 season, effective immediately, due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
It’s a decision we fully support, as difficult as it is to see rugby league pause because of a challenge not of its own making, but one that will have a lasting impact on the entire world.
It was no doubt an extremely tough decision for the NRL to make - one I know was not taken lightly and was made only after taking advice from government, health officials and biosecurity experts.
Right across the industry, like many others, there is much uncertainty about what the future holds.
For Storm, the health and wellbeing of our players, our staff and, of course our members and fans, has always been our priority in any decision we make.
It’s why we supported the decision to play in front of an empty stadium last week and to isolate our playing group as advised by government and health officials.
This decision will have a material impact on our Club, as it will the game. Having worked at Storm during the salary cap issue of 2010, I can assure you this is on a whole different level. Not only is Storm under pressure, but the entire NRL.
We’re no different to many, many others around our country, across the Tasman in New Zealand, throughout the Pacific and around the world, who are feeling pain right now.
While the last few weeks have been difficult, as I know you would all understand, the last 24 hours I have spent with the players, coaches and our staff to have our club in the best position possible to deal with this crisis.
There is no doubt there is a lot of anxiety and uncertainty for many people.
Sport, and in our case rugby league, provides us with a release. It is an escape for 80 minutes every weekend during the Australian winter.
So far this year, we were able to do that for two rounds, for two wins. It was looking like another great season.
While we’re gone, we’ll miss it. Dearly.
But, for a period of time, we’ll pause and focus on something much, much bigger than us – practising social distancing and keeping fit and healthy, as we all battle against this current pandemic.
We’re not sure how long we will be absent for, but we’re holding on to hope that we’ll be back sometime this year.
Some of our members will have questions, which we’re endeavouring to get to as soon as possible.
If I could please ask of you for some patience as we work through a number of operational matters, the team here will be incredibly grateful.
In the meantime, if you have questions, please continue to direct these to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the 100-plus members that signed up or up-graded their membership in the days after the crowd-ban, I’d like to offer my sincere appreciation for your support.
It continues to show that in good times and bad, the Storm family is always one that sticks together (and thankfully we’ve had plenty of good times).
We’ll continue to offer member packages during this hiatus, so if you’d like to stay connected to Storm and if you’re in a position to support the club, we’d be delighted to have you on board.
The team will do their best to stay connected during this period. Later today, we'll be posting the thoughts of coach Craig Bellamy on all our social media platforms.
In the meantime, I wish you and your families only good health, safe travels and I hope to see you back at AAMI Park sometime in 2020.
On behalf of us all here at Storm, please look after one another, be kind and listen to the advice from the health experts and remember you are always part of #YourStorm.
Show care, compassion and stay connected. We’re all in this together.
Chief Executive Officer