Dear Members, Since I last wrote to you, some great progress has been made to return our Melbourne Storm back to the playing field, safely – and I’m sure that is something we are all looking forward to.
This morning, our NRL squad was back together for the first time in six weeks as we prepare to restart training ahead of a round three match at the end of the month (side note – our four points stand!).
There is much that still has to be confirmed before that game, including who our opponents will be and where the game will be played, but we can be confident that everything is being done – and done the right way – to allow the competition to resume.
At all times, and especially in this very difficult period, health and safety is our first priority and that won’t be compromised for any reason.
The Club is in receipt of written advice and guidance from medical and safety experts, including those specialising in pandemic and bio-security mattters, which provides us with comfort heading into the resumption of training.
That advice includes an assessment that staff and players are less than a 1 in 100,000 chance of currently having COVID-19 and therefore bringing it into our environment.
So, whilst the restrictions on players and football staff are onerous, now that the competition is back, they’re vitally important in ensuring the show returns.
Today, it was announced that our NRL program will relocate to the NSW border town of Albury for at least the first part of training ahead of round three.
The COVID-19 restrictions still in place in Victoria meant we were unable to stay here at AAMI Park, although that situation may change in coming weeks.
I would like to thank the Victorian Government for the consideration they gave to having our team remain in Victoria, but ultimately, we understand why that is not possible at this time.
I would also like to thank the town of Albury, as well as the NSW Government, for being so accommodating and for welcoming us as guests this week, albeit, in a different form to normal.
As challenging as it may be, the team will head to Albury with a positive mindset and use the camp as a way to reconnect with each other after a six-week hiatus.
The Storm training group in Albury will include 32 players and 18 football department staff.
They will operate in accordance with the NRL’s strict biosecurity protocols which were compiled by one of Australia’s leading biosecurity experts, Associate Professor David Heslop.
You will be able to follow their progress via melbournestorm.com.au and our various social media channels.
And while I know we have many members and fans in the Albury region, unfortunately, because of the strict restrictions, our players and training venue will be off limits to the public.
Hopefully it’s the first and only time we’ll be asking for fans to stay away, as it’s not our normal position.
At this stage, it remains unclear as to when Storm will be able to play at AAMI Park or when our incredible members, will be able to see a game in person.
I remain hopeful that gates reopen in season 2020 in some form, and we’ll continue to update members on progress there.
I know the Purple Army will be with the team as they return and the players will certainly have you in their thoughts when they’re training and playing.
Speaking to many of them during the break, I know they can’t wait to get back on the field.
Thank you again for your ongoing support of Storm. It has has helped us get through this very challenging period and set us up for a strong bounce back when the competition resumes.
As I have done myself, I’d encourage you all to consider downloading the government’s COVIDSafe app which will help our community to continue to get on top of this virus.
I hope you and your families continue to stay safe, healthy and well, and I hope to see you in person soon.