Storm still waiting on NSW govt clearance

Melissa Woods
Brenko Lee (l) and Tui Kamikamica have been among the Melbourne players training in pairs

Melbourne are in danger of being left in no-man's land, with the NSW government refusing to sign off on their Albury NRL training base due to biosecurity concerns.

The Storm's request to resume training at AAMI Park was on Sunday knocked on the head by the Victorian government, who rejected the club's application for an exemption from state of emergency restrictions which are in place until at least May 11.

Negotiations are ongoing to use Albury in NSW as their midweek training base but it is believed that the location of their gym, away from the proposed training ground, is a stumbling block due to the strict biosecurity measures the NRL agreed to in order to get the competition back up and running by May 28.

Melbourne were denied their first choice of relocation bases, Mulwala, with plans to stay at the Yarrawonga-Mulwala Golf Resort in NSW.

That plan was blocked as the training ground they hoped to use is actually located in Victoria.

An alternative could involve the Storm shifting training to Sydney until tight restrictions are lifted in Victoria later in the month.

But the club said that they are "confident" the Albury situation will soon be resolved, allowing training to get underway in the border town from Tuesday.

They hope relocation is just a short-term measure with players and officials able to make the three-hour drive back to Melbourne each weekend.

The Storm have been granted special permission by the Victorian government to assemble their players at AAMI Park on Monday for their biosecurity briefing and testing day.

All players who shifted interstate last month when given four weeks leave have returned to the club, including star winger Josh Addo-Carr, who has been fined for breaching social distancing laws while in NSW.

The Storm said there were no club-enforced penalties as Addo-Carr was on official leave but warned that any further player infractions could result in sanctions such as missed game time.

Kiwi hooker Brandon Smith is out of two-weeks' hotel quarantine after returning from New Zealand and will take part in the education session on Monday.