NRL club Melbourne Storm will strengthen its connection to the Sunshine Coast by heading north for a four-day camp prior to their round 26 blockbuster against the Brisbane Broncos.
Mayor Mark Jamieson today announced the Storm, sixth on the NRL ladder and heading for another finals series appearance, would be based at Sunshine Coast Stadium leading up to what should be a crucial clash with the ladder-leading Broncos.
The Storm will be on the Coast from August 30 to September 2 before heading to Brisbane for their Thursday night, September 3 meeting to finish the home-and-away rounds of the 2015 season.
As part of their stay, coach Craig Bellamy and champion fullback Billy Slater will be special guests at a lunchtime function, which will be open to the public, at Alex Surf Club on Tuesday, September 1.
Tickets will be available through Sunshine Coast Stadium and go on sale today.
Local rugby league fans will also get the chance to watch the Storm train at an open session at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Monday, August 31. They will hit the field at 5pm with a meet and greet session at the conclusion.
“With their great array of stars, including Kangaroos and Maroons captain Cameron Smith and fellow Queensland Origin players Cooper Cronk and Will Chambers, the Storm are undoubtedly one of the most popular sporting teams on the Sunshine Coast,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“We are delighted that they will be with us for four days, using the great facilities we have at Sunshine Coast Stadium and enjoying our very enviable late winter climate.
“The Storm already have forged close ties with our region thanks to their partnership with the Sunshine Coast Falcons and this camp will add substantially to that.
“This will be a unique opportunity for our league lovers to see an elite team just a week or so away from playing in the NRL finals series.”
Tourism, Sport and Major Events Portfolio Councillor Jason OPray said the presence of major sporting clubs such as the Storm on the Coast only strengthened its reputation as Australia’s major regional sporting capital.
The Storm’s visit follows on from the Qantas Wallabies’ week-long camp on the Sunshine Coast ahead of their Rugby Championship clash with South Africa earlier this month and pre-season camps held by AFL clubs Hawthorn, Western Bulldogs and Melbourne.
“These camps provide a significant economic injection to the Sunshine Coast and highlight what we have on offer here,” Cr OPray said.
Melbourne CEO Dave Donaghy said the Storm was proud of the partnership it had formed with the Sunshine Coast community since joining with the Falcons as one of its two Queensland-based feeder teams.
“Holding a camp on the Coast will allow the team to best prepare for their final round match against the Broncos and the players and football staff are certainly looking forward to heading north and interacting with local league fans over the four days,” Mr Donaghy said.
“Sunshine Coast Stadium is a fantastic facility and we thank the Council for allowing the team to set up home there during our visit.”