Storm wait on Vic Govt relaxing bubble

Melbourne will wait on approval from the Victorian government before it is determined if the Storm can have their NRL bubble relaxed.

The league on Saturday put the easing of restrictions to state governments, with NSW and Queensland approving the measures from Sunday.

Under the new rules, some limitations will be removed which will allow players and club staff to visit cafes and local shops in the interest of welfare.

The strict game day and training biosecurity measures will remain, including temperature checks and the removal of any players with flu-like symptoms.

But while coronavirus case numbers have remained low in recent weeks in NSW and Queensland, Victoria has had several issues.

The state had its worst day of case numbers in two months, prompting health authorities to move back to tighter restrictions.

The NRL’s announcement on Saturday afternoon also coincided with confirmation Essendon AFL player Conor McKenna had tested positive to the virus.

The Storm are still waiting to hear whether the Victorian government will accept the NRL’s changes, and what it will mean for their players.

The NRL club is closely monitoring that situation, and the rise of cases in the state.

The way the McKenna scare unravels might also influence the government, given it is unlikely officials will have different rules for the two codes and the AFL is the dominant code in Victoria.

The government has already denied a Storm request a for a crowd of just 294 in AAMI Park’s corporate boxes for Friday’s match against the Warriors.

A return to crowds of 25 per cent at stadiums looks unlikely next month, however the Victorian government has indicated it will likely go straight to that kind of figure rather than smaller numbers.

Again, the AFL’s reluctance or push for crowds of 10,000 at Marvel Stadium and the MCG might sway any outcome for the Storm.

ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys has thanked clubs and players, plus all governments, for working collaboratively during the lockdown period.

“The level of sacrifice by players, officials and their families has been significant and has demonstrated the absolute commitment of all involved to protect their own health, the health of the game and that of the wider community,” he said.

“I am exceptionally proud of the players and how their conscientiousness and professionalism went to the highest level in this crisis.

“The Federal and state governments have provided support and guidance throughout this period and we have listened, and acted, according to their advice.”

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