Donaghy insists his club will have a ghost-like presence in Albury, just over the border in NSW, where 32 players and 18 staff will be based until at least Saturday.
Unable to train together in Victoria due to government restrictions, Storm were planning to use Albury’s Greenfield Park, the town’s major local rugby league ground, which also hosted a Super Rugby trial earlier this year.
But on Tuesday evening at an extraordinary meeting, Albury City councillors voted 5-4 against them using any facilities they managed.
The Storm activated their backup plan and will train on Albury Sports Ground, a non-council-managed facility, which hosts the Albury Tigers Australian rules and cricket clubs.
“I was involved in a phone hook-up last night so I wasn’t particularly shocked but certainly disappointed is probably the best way to sum it up,”‘ Donaghy said when asked on Fox League Live about the council’s decision.
“We were aware of some of the challenges that the council was expressing and like any of our plans we made a contingency.
“We’ve got our hotel set up, we’ve got the gyms set up and from tomorrow we’ll be training at the Albury Tigers ground.”
Donaghy stressed the Storm’s plans would effectively separate them from the rest of the community.
‘We will largely be ghosts in Albury,” he said.
‘We will be at the hotel, we will be shuttled to the gym.
“The gym actually has a roller door where the minibus, which has a limited amount of people that can fit on it, will be able to drive in.
“Players will alight from the minibus inside the gym.
“They will train in there, the bus will leave and it will come back and then pick the guys up to take them to the field.
“They are all within what’s called the clean zones and they are all blocked off from the community.
“It’s actually the first time we’ve gone to a country town and asked the community not to come, not to engage with the team.”
But Donaghy claimed the Storm’s presence in Albury would be financially beneficial to the area.
They will use a range of local facilities including a motel which will gain 200 extra bed nights.
“This is going to inject tens of thousands of dollars into the local economy,” Donaghy said.
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