The NRL could consider moving games to Melbourne if lockdowns continue in Sydney and Brisbane according to premiership winning Storm coach Craig Bellamy. Players are staff returned home on Tuesday after 46 days away, still locked down by NRL-imposed restrictions but happy to see their families and loved ones again.
Storm will also get to play its first game at AAMI Park since May when they take on the Knights in Round 18, with the ground open and available for any other games the NRL may have to move.
The A-League grand final, played last Sunday, was the most recent match played at the rectangular stadium and with the season now finished, AAMI Park is vacant until the Wallabies play France in July.
There will be no crowds at any NRL games in Sydney this week, and Bellamy said should the league want to move games, Melbourne would be the perfect host.
“Going back 12 months it’s hard to believe we are in the situation we are with COVID-19,” Bellamy said.
“This time last year Melbourne was the worst place in Australia to be and, at the moment, it looks like the best place to be.
“It’s a good ground, a great surface and all the players who play against the Storm would verify that.
“I can’t see any reason why if the grounds are getting overused up there [NSW] or if it goes for a few weeks where they can’t get crowds, then they could get crowds down here.
“I think it would be a good thing for the game, a good experiment.”
Crowds at AFL games in Melbourne this week were set to be allowed up to 85 per cent capacity of venues, but that was changed amid the growing issues interstate with 50 per cent still the maximum.
Exemptions could be required for NRL teams to enter the state after Victoria closed its border to parts of NSW and Queensland from 1am on Wednesday.
NRL players are living under strict stay-at-home protocols to aid movement.
Bellamy said it would be a “really good idea” to move games to Melbourne if the situation in the northern states lingered.
“We’re the only team using AAMI Park,” Bellamy said.
“It would be interesting to see the sort of crowds they would get down here, but everyone knows Melbourne people love their spot,”he said.
“I think it would be a really good thing for the NRL, and a really good thing for Melbourne.”

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