Storm denies threat from Super 15 rival - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm denies threat from Super 15 rival

By Guy Hand 12/11/2009 05:12:28 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne Storm have dismissed the notion that the city's new Super 15 rugby union franchise is a threat to the NRL club.

The Storm would appear to have most to lose with the announcement of a Melbourne rugby union team starting in 2011 - with the prospect of a cross-code rival cannibalising their fan following.

But chief executive Brian Waldron said a Melbourne rugby union team would be good for both the region and the Storm, believing a new code in town will help spike Victorian interest in non-AFL sports.

The team, likely to be named the Rebels, will also play a more truncated season than the NRL - possibly just eight home matches over an 18-week period.

"We don't see them as being a threat," Waldron said.

"If anything, it will raise the profile of the alternative sports in this market, whether it's the Victory (soccer), the Storm or the Rebels.

"They essentially only play for half a season compared to what we do.

"It's good for the city. We're very comfortable with their involvement and we wish them all the best."

The Storm's run of four successive NRL grand final appearances has built their profile to unprecedented levels and shown they boast a rusted-on supporter base of around 12,000.

The club hopes that will lift further with the move to a brand new purpose-built 31,000-capacity rectangular stadium early next year - a venue they will share with the new union team.

Waldron conceded existing Storm fans would probably have an interest in the Rebels, but was confident there would be no bleeding of fans from one code to the other.

"We've got 12 years' history now, and a strong loyal base of people who follow us and we'll continue to grow that," Waldron said.

"There'll be a crossover of people that are interested rather than the `choice of'. We would have thought anyone who has an interest in the Storm would also have an interest in the Rebels.

"But whatever that involvement is, I don't think that will be an issue for us. We'll continue to grow our base leading into the new stadium."

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