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Hard-hitting Melbourne centre Justin Olam is relishing the comforts of home but says being in an NRL bubble has its advantages.
The Storm are the only team outside of the three Queensland clubs who don't have to relocate to the Sunshine state this week.
Themselves forced out of Victoria due to a COVID-19 outbreak, they will play their first home game in 78 days on Saturday night when they host Newcastle at AAMI Park.
It hasn't hurt their popularity, with the ladder leaders setting a new membership record of 27,000 this week.
"We spent the first part of the season on the (Sunshine Coast) but Melbourne is doing good at the moment and it's good to be back home," the PNG native said on Wednesday.
"We are doing stage four like the rest of the NRL but we are happy that we are in our own houses rather than all together in Queensland.
"It's challenging to be away - waking up in the same place, training, seeing the same people all the time - it's hard to switch off from footy."
But after spending four months away last month en route to the premiership, Olam said it made the players closer, with families also spending time together.
"It's how the clubs handle the situation - it can bring you closer or tear you apart," he said.
"The hardest hit were players who were in the second group, like the renegades squad, who know they're not going to play but have to keep turning up to train.
"They inspired us to keep going and winning for each other."
Olam said star fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen was nearing a return after a long stint sidelined with concussion.
Noted as one of the fiercest tacklers in the game, they hadn't let Olam near him.
"He's a very important asset of the club so no-one is allowed to touch him," Olam joked.
"He's looking good and has been training really well with the boys.
"I think it's now up to the medical team and to himself, when he feels OK to play."
Meanwhile, club boss Justin Rodski said talks were continuing to lock in coach Craig Bellamy for another year and now they were settled back in Melbourne they hoped to have an announcement soon.