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Storm shift game as V'landys says Origin 'probably won't be' at MCG

The Storm have confirmed their round-13 home game against the Titans will shift to the Sunshine Coast next week due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria. 

While the NRL is continuing to monitor the situation regarding the Ampol State of Origin series opener at the MCG on June 9, Storm officials on Friday made a call to move next Saturday's NRL fixture.

ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys told 2GB on Friday he was confident the match would be played at a suitable venue should Melbourne not be able to host the event.

"It seems it probably won't be able to be held at the MCG," V'landys said.

"We'll do what we believe is best commercially for the game. Every government around Australia has come to us looking for it, so there's no shortage of venues."

The NRL is yet to make a final decision on the venue for Origin I but it is expected to do so in the coming days.

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo on Thursday said he wanted to give Melbourne "every chance" of hosting the Origin match.

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"We're working around the clock on [finding another venue]," he said.

"Clearly, we have some concerns around the outbreak in Melbourne. 

"Visit Victoria and the Victorian government and the City of Melbourne have been great long-term partners for the game. We're very respectful of their partnership.

"We're really concerned about what's happening there. We're in constant dialogue with them.

"Nothing is off the table, we're looking at a wide range of potential locations. We hope to make a decision in the coming days."

Coincidentally, the Storm were in the middle of a two-week camp on the Sunshine Coast as a way of saying thank you for last year's community support when Victoria's snap seven-day lockdown was imposed this week.

The premiers were scheduled to return to Melbourne following Thursday night's win over the Broncos but will now remain in the Sunshine State and continue to monitor the situation before any further decisions are made.

"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," Storm CEO Justin Rodski said in a statement.

"We are feeling for all Victorians who will be challenged by another lockdown and hope that this passes quickly so we can get back to playing in front of a packed AAMI Park.

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

The Storm spent most of last year's premiership-winning campaign on the Sunshine Coast, winning all six 'home' games at Sunshine Coast Stadium by an average margin of 24.2 points.

"Our players know they are fortunate to be able to continue training and playing the game," Rodski said.

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"They will be again carrying the Big V with them as they run out to play in the coming weeks and will be thinking of all Victorians who are doing it tough.

"We thank the Sunshine Coast Council and Sunshine Coast Stadium for moving quickly and partnering with us again, particularly given the circumstances we are facing.

"The Sunshine Coast has become our home away from home these last two years, but we will always call Victoria home."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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