Relocating to sunny Queensland to play footy in the depths of a Melbourne winter might sound like a no-brainer (particularly when the city is staring down the barrel of another six-week lockdown), but for Storm players with young families, the decision was likely an agonising one.
Thankfully, the Dads of Storm were grateful to have the option to bring their partners and young children along for the journey.
Among those players who have their young families with them in the Sunny Coast hub are Albie Vete and Isaac Lumelume.
Albie and his partner Whitney have two girls - Ari, 4, and Mila, 1.
"I have my wife and the young kids with me and it has made life really easy having them here, I’m able to just concentrate on training," Vete said.
We don’t have any other family in Melbourne so if they were back at home in Melbourne this situation would’ve been much harder. I'm really grateful I'm able to have them here with me on the Sunshine Coast.Albie Vete
"Not too much has changed for the girls routine because they are too young to be at school yet, so life’s pretty simple for them.
"It has been a bit difficult to get them used to the hotel beds and cot, but they love being here and they're just excited about being in a new environment.
"It has been hard not to take the girls outside of the hub because of the quarantine they have to do, but the resort facilities are outstanding and there's plenty to keep the girls busy, whether it be walking to the beach or river and around the lagoon."
Albie said another positive about the hub environment was the opportunity to meet and spend time with teammates families and kids.
"In Melbourne there aren’t many opportunities in season to have play dates and dinners together," he said.
"During the last couple of weeks it’s been good getting all the kids together mixing and mingling."
The 27-year-old had an injury interrupted season in 2019 and played just the one first-grade game. He's hoping to earn some NRL game time soon and has been named in our extended squad a few times in the last month.
"I've been close a few times lately," Vete said.
"I'm doing everything I can to be at my best for training sessions to show the coaches I’m ready for a shot.
"Our middles are going really good at the moment and that just shows the depth and competition we have in our squad. We are always pushing each other to get better."
Isaac also has his partner and young kids, including an almost one-year-old daughter, quarantining on the coast.
"It makes it way easier that they’re here because I don’t have to worry about them being back home in Melbourne by themselves with all the outbreaks going on," he said.
One positive about hub life is that we’re staying at a resort and the beach is part of the resort as well, so my little ones have a lot more to do, they're not stuck at home.Isaac Lumelume
"It is unusual not being able to go do the little things with my family like going to the supermarket - everyone is missing 'normal' things like that."
Lumelume is yet to make his Storm debut and will also be aiming to impress on the training track, given the cancellation of the Q Cup season.
"My goals for this year were to hopefully get a game in the top grade and to be the best father I can be," he said.
"I just try to have fun at training and enjoy every bit of it. We do get some games of sevens or nines against the teams the NRL side is playing that week, so that gets us boys fired up a bit."