The Melbourne Storm says despite its home town recording new outbreaks of COVID-19, the coronavirus-free Queensland town in which they have set up camp has nothing to fear.
- Melbourne Storm are training on the Sunshine Coast, which has zero active cases of coronavirus
- Melbourne has recorded 75 new cases in the past 24 hours
- Chief executive David Donaghy says the side has taken every precaution, and the region has nothing to fear
Overnight, Victoria recorded 75 new cases of the virus, as it grapples with an emerging second-wave of the pandemic.
The NRL side is training at the four-star Twin Waters resort on the Sunshine Coast — a region with no active COVID-19 cases — ahead of its match against the Roosters on Thursday at Brisbane’s Lang Park.
Storm chief executive David Donaghy said the players and staff had been essentially locked down even before leaving Victoria ahead of the most recent outbreaks.
“Players haven’t been allowed out to dinners or to the park or cafes,” he said.
“They haven’t been able to go for even a walk around the block.”
Donaghy declared that “Melbourne is not Wuhan”, and while the number of cases was increasing, the side had taken every precaution under the NRL’s Project Apollo protocols.
He said the Storm arrived on the Sunshine Coast last Wednesday and were tested the following day before their Friday game in Sydney.
All results came back negative.
Their families were tested on Sunday as they arrived to join players and staff, and they too were given the all clear.
But while the team’s location has changed, its COVID-19 rules of engagement remain the same.
That means no school visits, no cross-promotion with the Sunshine Coast Falcons or Super Netball’s Sunshine Coast Lightning, which are both associated with the Storm.
Inside the resort, they are also kept away from other guests.
Those rules also apply to family members, which include more than a dozen children under two.
Donaghy said the team and staff had to rely on coach Craig Bellamy to provide support off the field.
“Craig is also a grandfather — his softer side will be needed through this period, I think.”
He said while “hopefully life will be back to normal” at some stage, he said this weekend’s game at Lang Park was one worth waiting for.
“We will have crowds of fans on Thursday night now we can have up to 10,000.
“Hopefully there’s a good showing of Storm supporters and for rugby league enthusiasts in general — it could be one of the games of the year.”