Melbourne Rugby League Fans the

Melbourne Storm today hailed the Victorian Government?s decision to upgrade the Melbourne Olympic Park precinct to include a new rectangular stadium as a "a major breakthrough for the development of the code in Victoria". The excitement follows the announcement today by the Premier of Victoria, Mr Steve Bracks, that a master plan will be developed for the Melbourne Olympic Park precinct.

Storm CEO Brian Waldron today confirmed that Melbourne Storm has signed the memorandum of understanding with MOPT to be a tenant at the new stadium where it will set up its new football and administrative head quarters.

Waldron said ?this is the most substantial initiative in the history of rugby league?s development in Victoria?.

?With this investment, the National Rugby League, the Australian Rugby League and the Melbourne Storm will be able to launch the code?s most aggressive ever push into Victoria,? Waldron said.

?It is magnificent news for rugby league fans, players and sponsors and means that any young kid who loves the game will be able to pull on a rugby league jersey in Victoria and know that they have a future right here in Australia?s sporting capital,? said Waldron.

?The package announced today will boost every level of the game from kids games to the Kangaroos,? said Waldron.

Mr Waldron was commenting on a package of initiatives agreed to between the Victorian Government and the Melbourne Olympic Park Trust which will make Melbourne Storm?s new home one of the best stadiums in the world.

?We anticipate the new stadium will be state-of-the-art and provide the best possible conditions for rugby league. It will be ready in 2008 and provide fantastic facilities for corporate sponsors and supporters alike,? Waldron said.

Mr Waldron said he was confident the Melbourne Storm would repay the Government?s confidence in its investment.

?The club has shown that from a modest start and limited resources it can achieve a lot on and off the field. In just seven seasons the Storm has won the premiership once and made the finals series five times,? he said.

?There is a big audience for league in Melbourne; the year we won the premiership 600,000 Melburnians watched the game on TV and even this year, when we didn?t make the grand final, almost 400,000 tuned in.

?The new stadium will give us renewed impetus and the Storm, along with the NRL and the ARL, are committed to cementing a strong place for league in Melbourne as the city?s other major football code,? Waldron said.