Melbourne Storm’s NRL squad will set up a home away from home on the Sunshine Coast today ahead of their round 8 NRL clash with the Sydney Roosters which has been switched from AAMI Park to Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
Under the NRL’s Project Apollo protocols, a total of 55 players and staff will be involved in the camp which will be based at the Twin Waters Resort with the club to use the first-class training facilities on offer at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
The Queensland Government has granted the club an exemption which allows the players and staff, who have been following strict COVID-19 protocols, to relocate to Queensland.
Storm CEO Dave Donaghy said the initial Sunshine Coast camp would be for a two-week period, with the ultimate goal of bringing the squad back to Melbourne when it is safe to do so.
"Sunshine Coast is the best option available to us in the circumstances we face at the moment and we would like to thank the Queensland Government for its assistance in making this relocation possible," Donaghy said.
"We have strong links with Queensland and especially on the Sunshine Coast with our successful Lightning Super Netball team and our partnership with the Sunshine Coast Falcons.
"Even though we won’t be able to undertake public activities such as an open training session during this camp, I know our squad will be warmly welcomed and looked after as they prepare for the Roosters game on Thursday night and then the trip to face the Raiders in Canberra in round nine.
"I’m sure our Victorian-based members and fans who missed out on seeing their team at home against the Warriors last night, and won’t be able to attend the Roosters game on Thursday night, understand the situation we are in at the moment.
"We would love to be back home in front of the Purple Army but unfortunately that isn’t possible until we get the green light to be back in Victoria.
"Our players are excited about the chance to play in front of a 10,000-strong crowd at Suncorp and build on the great memories of the home games we have brought to Queensland’s home of rugby league during the double-header and Magic Round promotions.
"To stage a 2018 grand final rematch at Suncorp Stadium and to showcase two of the best clubs in the NRL to a Queensland audience, including more than 1000 Storm members who live here, will be a real highlight of the season for us."
Storm’s QLD Plus and Fan Pass members, as well as Lightning reserved seat members, will be given the opportunity to receive tickets to Thursday night’s match, while there will also be an allocation that will go on general public sale on Monday.
While in Queensland, Storm will comply with the requirements set by the NRL and State Government to minimise the risks to our football bubble and the wider community.
Twin Waters Resort has allocated exclusive areas for Storm’s use to minimise the health risks and family members of players and staff will also be allowed to stay at the resort with restrictions in place.