There’s a purple storm returning to the region.
Melbourne Storm will make its long-awaited return to playing in its home state of Victoria when it hosts Newcastle Knights in the club’s only official NRL pre-season trial for 2021 at Casey Fields.
The 2020 NRL premiers haven’t had the chance to play in front of their home crowd since the corresponding trial last year which attracted more than 6000 fans to the first game played as part of the club’s partnership with the City of Casey.
The Storm will be hoping to make it two-from-two in its trial matches at Casey Fields, after knocking over the North Queensland Cowboys 22-14 last February in front of the huge crowd.
It was a golden season for the Storm in a year like no other in 2020, finishing second on the home-and-away ladder before defeating the Penrith Panthers 26-20 in the grand final at ANZ Stadium.
It was the club’s fourth NRL title after joining the competition in 1998 as they continue to be one of the most powerful sporting organisations in the country.
This year, due to Covid restrictions, the crowd for the 27 February clash will be capped at 4500 people with kickoff at the family friendly time of 5.30pm.
Storm is guaranteed to field a powerful line-up, featuring the bulk of the team which claimed the memorable 2020 premiership by beating the Panthers in the grand final.
As well as the Storm v Knights clash, many of the best players in the NRL Victoria competition will be showcased in a special Nines competition to be run as part of day’s activities.
The Storm Harmony Nines on the Casey Warriors’ home ground will feature juniors for the first time along with men’s and women’s teams.
They will play a round-robin competition to decide the finalists who will get the honour of playing the curtain-raisers to the NRL pre-season showdown on the main field.
The City of Casey and the surrounding areas are a stronghold for Storm members and rugby league fans with seven of Victoria’s local rugby league clubs located in South-East Melbourne.
The preliminary matches will be held on two fields with the action getting underway at 9am. Admission to those matches will be free of charge.
“In partnership with City of Casey, February 27 will be a great day for rugby league and Storm in particular as we play a game in front of our home fans for the first time in almost a year,” Storm CEO Justin Rodski said.
“We can’t wait to see the Purple Army come together and enjoy seeing their team live after such a long break.
“Last year’s trial at Casey was a huge success and we expect it will be another fantastic day in one of the heartlands of the game in Victoria.
“I’d also encourage all local league fans to check out the local talent at the Nines before watching what is sure to be an outstanding NRL trial.”
City of Casey CEO Glenn Patterson said Council was proud to host the pre-season trial at “our very own leading sporting facility”.
“The Nines competition combined with the signature game between Melbourne Storm and the Newcastle Knights is an event not to be missed,” he said.
“The opportunity for the winners of the round robin competition that day to play as a curtain raiser to Melbourne Storm is also a fantastic way to demonstrate the amazing pathways that are available in our community, for our younger generations.
“I hope to see plenty of our Casey residents get down and check out our local talent, followed by what’s sure to be a very entertaining game that evening.”
As a bonus for Storm’s 2021 ticketed members, everyone who has signed on for this season will be able to claim one free trial game ticket during a special members pre-sale that will run from 10am Friday until tickets sell out.
Entry for Storm non-ticketed members will be just $10 for adults and $5 for children, with general public tickets, available from Ticketmaster from 10am Monday, $20 for adults and $10 for children.
Storm has also launched special Casey membership packages which include a ticket for the trial game, ticket for a Storm home game at AAMI Park and a member merchandise item.
All memberships are available via melbournestorm.com.au/membership or call 1300 786 767.