The crowd for Saturday's Melbourne Storm-Newcastle Knights pre-season trial has been lifted.
Albury Sportsground will now be able to host 3750 people after the number was originally capped at 3000, under NSW Government COVID restrictions.
"One of the biggest aspects was lodging a COVID Safety Plan with the NSW Government so we could use Albury Sportsground as a major recreational facility," a Storm spokesperson said.
"We did that on Monday and then after visiting the ground yesterday (Tuesday) with the Albury Tigers and Albury Council, we were able to re-evaluate our plan which was resubmitted and approved this morning.
We were able to re-evaluate our plan which was resubmitted and approved this morning.- Melbourne Storm
"We value the importance of community safety and that's why we will have the two zones in operation at the ground on Saturday with all the facilities and staff required to keep things safe in both areas."
In what is a first for sport on the Border, the venue will be separated into two zones - west and east.
Spectators will not be able to cross their allocated zones and must abide by COVID protocols.
Entry into zone one, or west, is off Smollett Street, while zone two, or east, is via Hume Street.
Small camping chairs and picnic rugs are permitted.
"Melbourne Storm sends out a big thank you to everyone in the Albury-Wodonga community who has helped us pull together this afternoon of NRL at very short notice," the spokesperson offered.
"What usually takes weeks to plan we've managed to condense into just a few days.
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"It should be a great afternoon of rugby league. We know our players are really looking forward to the games and getting back to Albury."
Tickets are available via ticketebo.com.au with the main match from 4.45pm.
The reserve grade clash between the clubs, which will involve Albury Thunder trio Reece Clegg, Bronson Meehan and Harry Reicher playing for the Storm, will start at 2.15pm.
And the decision to lift the crowd figure will certainly catch the attention of all Ovens and Murray Football League clubs.
Under the current State regulations, games in NSW have a capacity of 3000, while those in Victoria are limited to 1000.
Wangaratta Rovers are already contemplating moving their round three blockbuster against fierce rivals Wangaratta on Sunday, April 17, to Corowa's John Foord Oval to maximise the crowd.
If the NRL regulations applied to the O and M crowds in NSW and could be lifted to 3750, it only adds to the appeal of moving the Wangaratta local derby interstate to Corowa, particularly if Victorian crowds remain capped at 1000.
The O and M has six Victorian and four NSW-based clubs.
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