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Donaghy: First few games will be played interstate

Melbourne expect to open the rebooted NRL season with away games and finish with a series of home matches played in front of fans, according to Storm chief executive Dave Donaghy.

Story credit: AAP

Storm players returned to AAMI Park on Monday for the first time in more than a month, queuing on taped marks on the ground before being temperature tested in their first encounter with the new NRL biosecurity measures.

The club was given an exemption by the Victorian government to hold its education day at its headquarters.

However, the state of emergency in place prevents the team training at its home ground, forcing the Storm across the border into NSW.

While the Storm await official sign-off from the NSW government on their Albury training facilities, Donaghy said that looking further ahead they were poised to play a number of game interstate when the season resumed.

“We don’t (expect to be playing at home),” said Donaghy, due to Victoria’s tighter restrictions.

“I’m accepting of the fact that probably for the first little period of time, we’ll be playing a few away games.

“The competition structure hasn’t been confirmed but I would suspect that would be the case.”

Donaghy said he understood that the remainder of the 2020 draw would be equalised with more home games later in the season – and he believed Melbourne could possibly be played in front of crowds.

“That would be my understanding, if we were playing more away games at the start there would be the opportunity to back-end some home games,” he said.

“I am the eternal optimist and I think if we keep doing the right things as a community … I’m genuinely hopeful that in some way, shape or form we will start seeing crowds back at AAMI Park as long as the trends keep going the way they are.”