Melbourne Storm will continue with plans to base itself at Albury this week, with the Club securing the use of the Albury Tigers’ home ground.
Storm was scheduled to train at Greenfield Park, the local home of rugby league, but a resolution tonight by Albury City Council to restrict access to facilities managed by Council saw a late change.
Storm players and staff arrived in Albury this afternoon, with the camp set to inject tens of thousands of dollars into the local economy this week.
Storm’s camp contingent of 32 players and 18 staff will be based in the border city from this evening until at least Saturday, as they prepare for the resumption of the NRL season at the end of the month.
They will follow strict health and biosecurity measures while in camp, including the public having no access to the group.
Storm will train at the Tigers’ spiritual home , the Albury Sports Ground, after uncertainty over the availability of the Albury Thunder’s rugby league ground saw the club proactively seek an alternative option.
Storm CEO Dave Donaghy visited Albury yesterday and has discussed the strict protocols and schedule with local stakeholders.
Donaghy said the strict health and biosecurity protocols put in place by the NRL, in accordance with National Principles for the resumption of Sport, were already underway following an induction and briefing session yesterday and would keep the training camp and local community safe.
The protocols were compiled by a group of medical experts and endorsed by one of Australia’s leading biosecurity experts, Associate Professor David Heslop.
“The Club is in receipt of written advice and guidance from medical and safety experts, including those specialising in pandemic and bio-security matters, which provides us with comfort heading into the resumption of training,” Donaghy said,
“We’re looking forward to a very good week of training in Albury as we get 2020 back on track.”
Donaghy added the economic benefit had been well received by local traders, particularly given the financial hardship currently being experienced by the community.
“The initial camp from today through to the weekend will inject tens of thousands of dollars back into the local economy,” he said.
“We’re using the services of a range of local facilities, including our motel which will gain 200 extra bed nights at a very difficult time.
“These businesses and the wider Albury region will be showcased this week to a national audience, including through our social media channels, where more than a million people following Storm, in addition to our growing membership base.
“We have also discussed a number of initiatives with the local Chamber of Commerce, as well as opening discussions with the local rugby league fraternity about how we can help out community sport in the region once it is up and running.”