Melbourne’s players and staff said goodbye to their families on Wednesday night, initially heading to Sydney where they will be housed at Olympic Park.
“It was a bit of shock on Monday to know we’ve got to pack up and leave,” Storm coach Craig Bellamy said. “It’s thrown a bit of a spanner in the works. We just need to handle it and get on with things. Now at the moment a lot of these players and staff are leaving family behind.
It was a bit of shock on Monday to know we’ve got to pack up and leave.
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy
“Unfortunately in our case here there’s not too many mums and dads, brothers and sisters and school friends to rely on. They all come from New Zealand, New South Wales or Queensland. It is a bit difficult and we’ve just got to do our best with it and move on.”
The Warriors themselves have little certainty about when they will be able to return to New Zealand having flown across the Tasman in early May to allow the NRL season to resume.
The club sacked coach Stephen Kearney last Saturday – less than 24 hours after they were thumped 40-12 by the Rabbitohs – and installed assistant Todd Payten in an interim role until the end of the season.
The former Tigers prop said he was ready for his first game in charge as an NRL head coach – despite the controversial circumstances – and wants to see more resilience from his side.
Asked why the club had struggled for the last 18 months, Payten said: “We haven’t been tough enough for long enough.
“In a lot of areas we’re close. In other areas we’re a million miles away. We need to shorten it up in all of those areas.”
The Warriors did receive some welcome news with forward Poasa Faamausili’s loan deal with the club to be extended beyond this week.
The Auckland-born Faamausili, 24, had been loaned to the Warriors by the Roosters to help them cover any injuries during their Australian stay.
“Trent [Robinson] and the Roosters have been fantastic with their attitude towards us,” Payten said. “They’ve agreed to keep Po in our system until they need him back. So he’ll be here as long as they are injury-free.
“Po’s been really good. He’s fitted in really well and he’s pretty vocal around the group, which has been great.”
Adam Pengilly is a Sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.