Storm Sale Process Nears D-Day

Melbourne - logoBy STEVE MASCORD

THE sale of the Melbourne Storm will be delayed for months if a deal is not done shortly.

Negotiations involving the Storm, News Limited and a multi-national consortium, with London-based New Zealanders among the leading figures, are reaching their conclusion.

Fairfax Media has been told by a reliable source that conclusion will either be an immediate announcement over the sale of the NRL and world champions or a two- to three-month delay to suit the purposes of the new owners.

“We don’t want to jeopardise the sale be speaking publically about it,” club chief executive Ron Gauci said when contacted.

Storm staff have been assured their jobs are safe, Fairfax has been told. But Gauci was hired to find the club a new owner and will walk out – along with directors – when the deal is done.

The change of ownership is not expected to have significant impact on the day to day running of the AAMI Park-based club. Coaches, staff and players are relaxed about the situation. Coach Craig Bellamy met a representative of the consortium before the World Club Challenge.

In other news, the Storm have a united approach to their closing in on the all-time premiership record of consecutive victories. They’re ignoring it.

Thursday night’s 28-18 win over the Warriors was their 15th in a row – just four short of the mark set by the 1975 Eastern Suburbs side.

If Melbourne continues on its winning way, it will have to beat Sydney Roosters, formerly Eastern Suburbs, on May 25 to beat their record.

“That’s the first I’ve heard of that – I knew we’d won a fair few on the trot,” said coach Craig Bellamy.

“I don’t think that will come into our consideration a whole heap. It’s just what we do each week and making sure we’re getting ready for the next game.

“If we can get there, that would be nice. But I’m not going to put pressure on the players about doing the next four games or whatever it is.

“I’m not going to add extra pressure by trying to make sure we come up with a record run.”

Centre Will Chambers, who is off contract this year and scored two tries on Thursday, said: “We don’t think that far ahead. Now we’ve got Canberra.”

Halfback Cooper Cronk said the winning run “is not really spoken about in our group … keep training hard, keep preparing well and the outcomes will take care of themselves.”

Filed for: THE AGE

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