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Ballarat will host a Melbourne Storm game for the first time when Craig Bellamy’s team take on fellow 2021 NRL finalists Newcastle Knights in their final pre-season match on 27 February 2022 at Mars Stadium.

Storm CEO Justin Rodski joined Member for Wendouree Julianna Addison and Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle plus Ballarat Mayor Cr Daniel Moroney today to announce the match will be delivered with support from the Victorian Government’s Regional Events Fund.

“Thanks to the Victorian Government, we now have the opportunity to give Storm members and fans in Ballarat and the region a chance to see the best of rugby league in their own city,” Rodski said.

“The last two years have obviously been challenging for all Victorians, and we were particularly keen to give as many people as possible in regional Victoria the chance to see the team up close and personal.

“We have a lot of members and fans in regional Victoria who have stuck by the club over the last two years and I know the team will want to give something back in return of their support.”

“We know our members and fans in outer city and regional areas haven’t seen a lot of live footy over the last two years, so we are really pleased to be playing in Ballarat with the help of the Victorian Government,” Rodski said.

“We want to give something back to those who have stuck by us and will be holding open training sessions in Broadmeadows, Werribee and Casey over the pre-season as well as our trial matches in Ballarat and Casey.”

Storm is expected to name a near full-strength squad for the match which will be their last hitout prior to round one.

The pre-season clash is forecast to attract up to 10,000 spectators with many loyal Storm members and fans expected to make the trip to Ballarat, injecting a welcome boost to hotels, restaurants, bars and other attractions.

Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Martin Pakula said: “The Victorian Government is thrilled to bring the first NRL match to Ballarat. Victorians the state-over love a good sporting contest and Mars Stadium will be the place to see Storm battle it out with the Knights in February next year.”

“We’re supporting a wide range of events across Victoria because they encourage people to get out and see our great state and enjoy the wide range of experiences on offer in the regions.”