The Albury Council has voted to not permit the Melbourne Storm from using council facilities to train ahead of the NRL’s proposed season restart on May 28.
The motion to block the club from using the city’s facilities was passed in an emergency meeting, which was called by Councillor Darren Cameron on Tuesday morning.
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The Storm have already travelled to Albury and had secured accommodation and the use of gym facilities for four days.
The council motion, which was passed by a 5-4 vote, does not prevent the Storm from securing alternative arrangements in Albury using private facilities, such as grounds managed by local football clubs that don’t come under council management.
Soon after the council’s decision it was reported that the Storm had been offered a reprieve from the Albury Tigers Football Club, who hold exclusive rights over the use of their home ground in central Albury.
Councillors who voted to block the Storm from using council-operated Greenfield Park had argued it was a ‘double standard’ to allow the club to train while it continued to ask residents to stay home.
Those who voted to the club to train under the existing arrangement said the council was going over the top of advice from the NSW chief medical officer, who had permitted the Storm to travel from Melbourne into NSW.
The Storm will remain in Albury and train at the Albury Sportsground.
NRL training to resume after players reach pay cut deal
NRL players will resume group training on Wednesday after officially agreeing to an 80 per cent pay cut for the rest of the season.
Teams are limited to training in groups of 10 this week, but are expected to be given the green light to resume full squad training next week.
The development comes despite at least one player being forced to find alternative accommodation because of the strict biosecurity measures.
Canterbury have confirmed one player, believed to be winger Marcelo Montoya, will have to move out due to his mother working in aged care.
ARL Commission chair Peter V'landys remained bullish however, declaring the competition on track to start in three weeks.
"It is full steam ahead for the resumption of the competition on May 28. All eyes will be on the NRL as the only live sport on television," V'landys said on Tuesday.
"There will never have been more interest in rugby league than on May 28."
"Rugby league is part of the social fabric of so many communities.
"In these difficult times it will provide a tonic for so many seeking a form of normality during a period where nothing is normal.”