New COVID-19 restrictions introduced by the Queensland state government mean Melbourne Storm will have to remain based north of the Tweed River for the foreseeable future.
Predicting the threat that a spike in Victorian COVID-19 cases represented, the Storm relocated to Sydney last week for their clash with the Warriors at Kogarah. After winning comfortably they flew to the Sunshine Coast to prepare for their Round 8 match against the Roosters which has been relocated to Suncorp Stadium.
Many of the player's families and partners have flown north with the team. Storm forward Dale Finucane told NRL.com that acting CEO Andrew Abdo had spoken to the squad on Saturday night about when they could expect to return to Melbourne.
"I think given that the numbers are increasing in Victoria in terms of what's happening with the virus, it's not looking like any time soon," Finucane said.
Queensland's chief health officer released a statement today that has thrown the AFL fixtures into turmoil, with Queensland or Queensland-based teams subject to new quarantine rules when playing Melbourne-based teams.
The rules state that teams who play against a Melbourne team in Queensland are required to quarantine after the match for 14 days, or a team that plays in Melbourne is required to quarantine for 14 days upon returning to Queensland. A team that plays in another state against a side who has been in Melbourne in the preceding 14 days is also required to quarantine on their return to Queensland.
Melbourne escaped Victoria just in time to avoid the 14-day quarantine rule. They will however not be allowed to return to Melbourne until things vastly improve.