Deja vu as Storm stay on Sunshine Coast

·2-min read

Melbourne' groundhog day existence on the Sunshine Coast will return after the NRL club's three-week camp in Queensland was extended after more positive COVID-19 in Victoria.

The Storm have been based on the Sunshine Coast for the past two weeks, as a way of returning to their home away from home during last year's lockdown.

After heading north before Magic Round, the Storm were meant to return home to Melbourne after Thursday night's clash with Brisbane as per normal.

In a cruel twist, they will now stay on the Sunshine Coast indefinitely after the cluster in Melbourne's north grew to 15 on Wednesday morning with another six local cases confirmed.

And while the area does provide happy memories for the club in the form of last year's title, coach Craig Bellamy admitted it was a new stress for players.

"It's not funny, but having this happening again is quite ironic," Bellamy said.

"Some of the guys will be rattled, families were going to come up for a few days and that won't be happening now.

"It might add a bit of stress around the camp to be quite honest but hopefully things can be sorted and we get to some sort of normality at some stage."

The Storm are due to host Gold Coast on Saturday week at AAMI Park, with no decision made on the game as yet.

Bu the club did play out of the Sunshine Coast last year, regularly selling out the Kawana Stadium on their run to the title.

It comes as the NRL examines contingencies for the State of Origin opener at the MCG on June 9.

Canberra would appear the most likely back-up option, given the NRL would prefer to have a neutral venue with Game II in Brisbane and Game III in Sydney.

While Adelaide and Perth are other potential options, there has been no sign of the game shifting there and selling stadiums on short notice in each of those cities could prove difficult.

Regardless, it would appear only a Melbourne lockdown or issues with the NSW or Queensland governments would see the game moved.

"We're looking at several venues for that, but we'd have to see a significant increase in the number of community cases and the potential for lockdown in Victoria before we move onto that," NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said on Tuesday

"We have contingency plans, we said at the start of the year we'd be ready for whatever situation emerges.

"It's early days ... but if needs be we'll increase the protocols, and if we need to consider contingency planning for where we play State of Origin, we will."

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