Qld-based Storm abort Melbourne return | Ralph Lauren

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Melbourne’s Sunshine Coast stay will be extended beyond Thursday’s NRL clash with Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium after more positive COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Victoria.

The cluster in Melbourne’s north grew to 15 on Wednesday morning with another six local cases confirmed.

The Storm have been based at Twin Waters on the Sunshine Coast for the past fortnight, having spent a majority of last season there on their way to the NRL premiership.

“Following consultation with the NRL, Melbourne Storm has decided to extend its camp at Twin Waters on the Sunshine Coast given the current fluid COVID-19 situation in Melbourne,” a statement read.

“Storm will continue to liaise with governments, their health authorities and the NRL before making any decision on a return date to Victoria.”

It comes as the NRL examines contingencies for the State of Origin opener at the MCG on June 9, with reports that Perth, Canberra and Adelaide are being considered as alternative venues.

NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo insisted a change of venue remained “very unlikely”.

“We’re looking at several venues for that, but we’d have to see a significant increase in the number of community cases and the potential for lockdown in Victoria before we move onto that,” he said on Tuesday

“We have contingency plans, we said at the start of the year we’d be ready for whatever situation emerges.

“It’s early days … but if needs be we’ll increase the protocols, and if we need to consider contingency planning for where we play State of Origin, we will.”

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