ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys said Melbourne Storm will need to relocate indefinitely because of a new spike in coronavirus cases in Victoria.
The state’s active COVID-19 case numbers are the highest they have been in more than two months after six days of double-digit growth, increasing by 16 on Monday.
Storm’s NRL home game against the New Zealand Warriors on Friday night has already been moved from AAMI Park to Sydney because of the surge in cases in Victoria.
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The match will now take place at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, with the league’s Apollo team saying the health and safety of players, staff and the wider community remains paramount.
The Storm were due to fly to Sydney later this week to complete preparations and all players and football staff will undergo COVID-19 tests to ensure no risk to the competition.
Craig Bellamy’s team were preparing for an indefinite move but V’landys confirmed they will now be required to relocate from Wednesday to either NSW or Queensland for an indefinite period.
“We’ve based every decision on risk analysis, and the risk is too high to leave them in Melbourne,” V’landys told 100% Footy on Monday.
“Where the players are actually living is a high infection rate area, so when we looked at it with the biosecurity expert today, his strong recommendation was to bring them to Sydney or possibly Queensland and minimise that risk.
“We appreciate the support from the Melbourne Storm because they’re going to have to sacrifice a little bit because they’ll be up here till further notice.
“We hope to get them back as quickly as we can, but it’s all on the risk analysis.”
© AAP 2020