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NRL match moves from Melbourne to Sydney over virus fears

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — A match in Australia’s National Rugby League between the Melbourne Storm and New Zealand Warriors due to be played on Friday has been moved from Melbourne to Sydney because of a spike in coronavirus cases in the state of Victoria.

A total of 16 COVID-19 cases were recorded in the state on Monday — the sixth straight day of double digit increases that extends the largest wave of infections in two months.

Storm officials held emergency discussions with the NRL on Monday before agreeing to move the match in the interests of the health of players, staff and the wider community.

Melbourne prop Christian Welch said he and his teammates anticipated and prepared for the move out of Victoria.

“We’ve braced for the potential that we might need to relocate and potentially play some of our home games in Queensland or NSW,” Welch said.

The New Zealand Warriors quit New Zealand on May 3 to base themselves in New South Wales for the remainder of the NRL season.

“If we need to relocate and play some games in another state, we’re more than happy to do that,” Welch said. “Every player here is happy to do that.

“And the team we’re playing, the Warriors ... the sacrifice they’ve made to leave their families in New Zealand and fly across and stay here for so long, it’s incredible.“

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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