Storm set for Queensland hub until August amid Victorian COVID-19 surge

MELBOURNE Storm’s stint in a Queensland hub could stretch in to August amid a worrying COVID-19 spike in Victoria.

Players were told in a hook-up with NRL officials on Sunday night that their minimum time away from home would be 28 days after the COVID-19 numbers in Victoria start to slide.

Victoria recorded more than 80 new cases of COVID-19 across the weekend amid worries of a dreaded second wave.

Storm was moved out of its home state last week and after smashing the Warriors , who are also a long way from home, 50-6 last Friday have set up a home away from home on the Sunshine Coast.

The Queensland Government has granted the club an exemption which allows 55 players and staff, who have been following strict COVID-19 protocols, to relocate to Queensland.

“We just spoke last night with a number of different people … we’ve been given not really an end date but an update on the minimum amount of time we can spend here,” Storm vice-captain Dale Finucane said.

“Given that the numbers are increasing in Victoria, it’s not looking like any time soon.

“They wanted a period of 28 days after the virus has slowed. That’s not happening any time soon. I dare say we’d be here for at least a month, if not longer.”

Families of Storm players will also be allowed and Dale Finucane said around 20 partners and “30-odd kids” had joined them in Maroochydore over the weekend.

They will all be tested for COVID-19, before being allowed to join players in their rooms.

But Finucane, who has a nine-month-old son, Freddy, said he was making do with “thousands of videos” from his wife who had relocated to Bega in NSW and wouldn’t be in Queensland for a couple of weeks.

“Hopefully I can get through that two week period OK and then get the wife up here,” he said.

“In the past month a lot of different things have started happening. (Freddy) has just started crawling. He can stand in his cot.

“It’s a big time for development. I don’t want to miss any of that stuff.”

Suliasi Vunivalu of the Storm scores a try during the Round 7 NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and the New Zealand Warriors at Netsrata Jubilee Stadium in Sydney, Friday, June 26, 2020. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLYSource:AAP

Storm CEO Dave Donaghy had said the initial Sunshine Coast camp would be for a two-week period, with the ultimate goal of bringing the squad back to Melbourne when it is safe to do so.

“Sunshine Coast is the best option available to us in the circumstances we face at the moment and we would like to thank the Queensland Government for its assistance in making this relocation possible,” Donaghy said.

The Warriors have fallen off a club football wise as their stint away from New Zealand stretched beyond two months, having based themselves on the Central Coast, losing two in a row and coach Stepehen Kearney was sacked.

Finucane said the Warriors situation was different, and hoped time away from home wouldn’t affacte them.

“We don’t have as many restrictions given they are an international team. We have been allowed out partners are families here,” he said.

“It’s not all bad.”

Munster was with team medical staff on Monday morning after suffering the injury in the win over the Warriors, which forced him to miss the second half.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy feared it could keep Munster sidelined for up to six weeks.

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