GAME ON: Stadium ‘game-ready’ for NRL matches
SUNSHINE Coast Council has confirmed it is in talks with the Melbourne Storm to host NRL games out of Bokarina.
Storm is eyeing off the Round 10 clash with the Gold Coast Titans on July 17 as the first opportunity to use Sunshine Coast Stadium.
Melbourne this week became Queensland's adopted fourth NRL team with the Storm having set up camp at Twin Waters ahead of Thursday night's blockbuster against the Roosters at Suncorp Stadium.
A massive spike in COVID-19 cases in Victoria forced the Storm to a new hub and Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy is planning for the long haul.
Bellamy has high hopes of all Storm "home" games being played out of Bokarina.
A council spokeswoman said the "first-class" facility was "game-ready" for NRL matches.
Queensland will ease to Stage 3 of the coronavirus lockdown restrictions, where, under the guidelines, major sports facilities can seat at 50 per cent capacity.
Sunshine Coast Stadium's record crowd is about 11,000, set last year.
"Council has had preliminary discussions with Melbourne Storm regarding playing an upcoming NRL match for the 2020 season at Sunshine Coast Stadium, with the Gold Coast Titans match on 17 July flagged as an initial opportunity," the spokeswoman said.
The stadium was due to host two NRL premiership fixtures, the Cronulla Sharks vs North Queensland Cowboys and New Zealand Warriors vs South Sydney Rabbitohs, prior to the pandemic.
That was due to be followed with the 2020 Women's State of Origin contest.
"This, combined with Storm's decision to temporarily relocate to the Coast for training, is a huge vote of confidence in our region as a destination of choice for major sporting teams and events," she said.
"We have a track record of selling out the stadium for top-level rugby league and have no doubt this would be repeated for Storm games, albeit it will be a reduced number due to COVID-19 guidelines.
"Plus the region gets the benefits of national exposure on television to encourage visitors to come, stay and play on the Coast.
"Seeing top-flight sports when so many other sports have shut down due to COVID-19 would also be a boost for local sporting clubs and pathway programs."
The spokeswoman said at this stage there are no plans for other teams, including AFL, to temporarily relocate to the region.