Melbourne Storm will move its 2021 trial match to Albury after being informed by Newcastle Knights that they have decided not to travel to Victoria as scheduled later this month.
The club said last night it was an opportunity to thank the people of Albury for their support last year, when the club used the city as a temporary base.
Knights management informed Storm of their decision late Thursday afternoon, deeming the travel risk too high under the current COVID environment.
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The February 27 NRL trial that was scheduled to be played at Casey Fields will now be played at Albury Sports Ground.
Details about the proposed NRL Victoria Community Nines carnival will also be known in the coming days.
Storm CEO Justin Rodski said planning was now under way to allow the team time to prepare for the opening round of the premiership season.
"It's obviously disappointing the Knights have decided not to travel to Melbourne for this trial - for our fans and for our players," Rodski said.
"Our members and fans haven't had the chance to see their team play live in Victoria for over 12 months and we were looking forward to having another great crowd attend Casey Fields next weekend.
"While it is disappointing for our fans in Melbourne, it is important that our players get the chance to prepare as best they can for the season ahead which is why we will travel to Albury for the trial.
"The change also gives us the opportunity to say thanks to the people of Albury after they supported us through the early part of the 2020 season.
"We hope as many members and fans as possible can make it to the game and support us once again."
Rodski said the decision by the Knights would have no impact on the season opening match against South Sydney scheduled for March 11 at AAMI Park.
Ticketing and event details for the Albury trial will be made available in the coming days.