Storm's Queensland players heading home

Melissa Woods
Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy has let his Queensland-based players go home

While a dozen of Melbourne's Queensland players are heading home, coach Craig Bellamy expects that when they return the Storm will hit the ground running.

With the NRL competition on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bellamy gave players the option to return to their home states, with Queensland players needing to arrive by midnight Wednesday or face self-quarantine for 14 days.

Many made a beeline to the airport on Tuesday after being given the news of the month-long break in team training.

"We're encouraging our guys if they can to go and spend a bit of time with their families," Bellamy said.

"This is a lot bigger than rugby league and we don't know what's around the corner but we want them to spend time with their families and take a load off."

He said players felt down about the postponement of the season, given the amount of work they'd put into their year.

But he added they all sympathised with the many people who had been affected either by the illness directly or by losing their livelihood.

Bellamy says the players weren't given strict training routines but he believes the Storm's famously gruelling pre-season, which has already reaped two wins from the two rounds before shutdown, will hold them in good stead when they get back to business.

"The important thing is to keep a bit of routine," Bellamy said.

"We expect them to do a little bit of work but it's going to be hard for them to be motivated because they don't know when they're going to be playing or if they're going to be playing at all.

"But it was a particularly good pre-season and it was a tough pre-season and most of our guys got through it really well.

"They've done a lot of the hard work so it's just a bit of maintaining now and we'll hopefully know in a month's time when we're playing and we can go from there."

Bellamy said he was open to relocating the competition to a single venue in a bid to restart it but was concerned for the safety of the families of players should crime rise in the wake of the pandemic.

"We are all open to anything at the moment and in theory that would work OK.

"But players leaving their families behind makes them more vulnerable so I'm not sure that's ideal."