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Storm match moved to Sunshine Coast, Origin shift also likely

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Melbourne Storm have shifted their next home game to Queensland while NRL boss Peter V’landys says the opening State of Origin match is unlikely to go ahead at the MCG.

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The Storm announced Friday that their round 13 match on June 5 against Gold Coast had been moved from AAMI Park to Sunshine Coast Stadium.

Melbourne have extended their training camp on the Sunshine Coast indefinitely, with Victoria in a seven-day lockdown due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

Storm chief executive Justin Rodski said it was disappointing not to be playing in front of a home crowd at AAMI Park after the team spent the bulk of last season based in Queensland.

“This was not an easy decision to make given the impact COVID has already had on our members and fans in Victoria through 2020 and again in 2021,” Rodski said.

“Unfortunately, given the growing uncertainty in Victoria and advice provided to our club, we feel this is the best outcome.”

Earlier Friday V’landys conceded that the June 9 Origin match, just four days later, would probably have to be shifted from the MCG.

V’landys told Nine radio that talks were continuing with the Victorian government and a decision was expected by Saturday.

He cited concerns with a potential lack of crowd and atmosphere at the cavernous venue.

“You know, when a partner’s down, you don’t take advantage of it, you don’t kick them, so we’re going to have more dialogue with them today,” V’landys said.

“But it seems that we probably won’t be able to hold it at the MCG. But at the same time, we’ve got to respect our partner but we’ll make a decision either today or tomorrow.”

V’landys said he’d had approaches from all other states looking to host game one in the best of three series, with the other matches in Sydney and Brisbane.

“Every government in Australia has come to us looking for it – there’s no shortage of venues or shortage of governments that want the greatest game of all in their state.”

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