Melbourne Storm will move their 2021 trial match to Albury after being informed by Newcastle Knights that they have decided not to travel to Victoria as scheduled later this month.
Knights management informed Storm of their decision late Thursday afternoon, deeming the travel risk too high under the current COVID environment.
The February 27 trial was scheduled to be played at Casey Fields and will now be played at Albury Sports Ground.
Fans who have purchased a ticket to the Casey Trial match will be given the opportunity to attend a Storm home game at AAMI Park later this year, while those who had purchased a Casey Membership will be given an additional ticket to a game at AAMI Park. The Club will make contact in the coming days to update those affected.
Details about the proposed NRL Victoria Community Nines carnival will also be known in the coming days.
Storm CEO, Justin Rodski, said planning was now underway to allow the team time to prepare for the opening round of the Premiership season.
“It’s obviously disappointing the Knights have decided not to travel to Melbourne for this trial – for our members fans and for our players,” Rodski said.
“Our fans haven’t had the chance to see their team play live for over 12 months and we were looking forward to having another great crowd attend Casey Fields next weekend.
“While it is disappointing for our members and fans in Melbourne, it is important that our players get the chance to prepare as best they can for the season ahead which is why we will travel to Albury for the trial.
“We appreciate the support the Casey City Council have provided over the last two years on trial matches and have agreement from the Knights that they will return for the trial in 2022.
“The change also gives us the opportunity to say thanks to the people of Albury after they supported us through the early part of the 2020 season. We hope as many fans as possible can make it to the game and support us once again,” Rodski said.
Rodski said the decision by the Knights would have no impact on planning for the season opening match against South Sydney scheduled for March 11 at AAMI Park.
Ticketing and event details for the Albury trial will be made available in the coming days.