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Melbourne Storm forced to find new training facilities after Albury City Council ban

Melbourne Storm forced to find new training facilities after Albury City Council ban
May 6, 2020

A decision by the Albury City Council to block the Melbourne Storm from using public facilities for training has seen the NRL club relocate its planned pre-competition training base.

The team moved to Albury yesterday after the NSW Government gave it permission to relocate to train away from Victoria's tight Stage 3 pandemic restrictions.

However, as reported by the ABC, Albury Councillors were angry they were not consulted about the team using council facilities while members of the public are not allowed to use them.

At an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday night, the Council voted formally 5-4 to oppose hosting the Victorian team, which had planned to train at the city's Greenfield Park.

Unable to use the council facility, the Storm instead began their training at the Albury Sportsground, which is traditionally home the local AFL club the Albury Tigers.

Advising that he understood some of Council's concerns, Melbourne Storm Chief Executive, Dave Donaghy told the ABC "I am not going to hold the City of Albury to hostage over a decision that was made which ultimately hasn't impacted our plans.”

Pleased with the facilities at the Albury Sportsground, he added "I think we have a terrific outcome.

"The field itself, I have been told, is one of the best surfaces in NSW. I know the boys are looking forward to going out and having a run on the field today."

While subject to some local criticism, Albury Councillor David Cameron stated "it's the message that it sends to the community.

"How do we expect our community … to continue to follow the stringent regime in place with an exemption like this?"

Albury Mayor Kevin Mack said the city remained strongly supportive of the Melbourne Storm, advising that Councillors had declined the club's request to use council facilities for training to protect the community's health and safety during the COVID-19 outbreak.

He added “we note that it is not Council's decision whether or not the club can train in Albury (but the resolution) applies only to the use of facilities managed by Council.”

Image of the Albury Sportsground, now equipped with rugby league posts, courtesy of the Albury Tigers Football Club.

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