The Melbourne Storm will now make a weekly commute across the New South Wales border for a pre-season camp ahead of the NRL season restart, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
Due to tough bio-security laws in Victoria, the Storm will have to set up a camp in New South Wales in order to train up to the 28th May resumption date.
Victoria’s restrictions on mass gatherings means the Storm will have needed to look for places to train from May 4th. The Storm have found two towns on the states border to train in rather than travel all the way into Sydney.
Albury is the lead candidate to host the Storm, located three hours north of Melbourne players will use local club’s training fields and gyms as their base- and stay in motels – for the week before returning home on Friday nights to spend the weekend with their families.
They will then report back to the team’s NSW base on Sunday night.
“We will probably have to top up the gym with a few things and there will certainly be a few alterations. But it’s nothing that can’t be done, put it that way,” Storm football director Frank Ponissi said.
“Our plan is to be there from anywhere between one and three weeks up on the border. That allows players to come home on weekends. We will train Monday to Friday up there, the players would travel home on Friday afternoon and then re-convene on a Sunday night.
“We’re prepared to do that for one, two or three weeks at that stage.”
That will be the schedule for Storm players until the season restarts, at which point the club hopes the mass gatherings bans in Victoria will have been lightened and they can travel to and from games on the day.
If the restrictions don’t lift the Storm will need to move to Sydney during the season, with travel back and forth to Albury considered too onerous.
The Storm are willing to do anything to get the season underway, “At the end of the day, our motto all along has been ‘it is what it is’,” Ponissi said.
“If we can’t (live and train in Melbourne) we will just have to deal with it.
“That was even our mindset in those first two games. It is what it is. You just deal with it.
“Everyone has their heads around it. It’s not an ideal, normal season. So we just have to adjust and get the best out of the situation.”