Melbourne Storm and North Sydney Bears have announced a new partnership that will see the Bears become the new feeder team for Storm from 2024.

The new partnership was announced today at the Bears home ground of North Sydney Oval by Bears Chief Executive Officer, Gareth Holmes, Storm Chief Executive Officer, Justin Rodski, and Storm General Manager Football, Frank Ponissi.

Under the two-year agreement, Storm players will now be divided between the Storms three feeder clubs – North Sydney Bears and existing feeder clubs, Sunshine Coast Falcons and Brisbane Easts.

“The partnership announcement today reinforces the fact that the Bears are not only a respected rugby league brand but a sought-after development route for NRL players.  We have a been feeder club for the Roosters, Rabbitohs and now the Storm, all successful NRL clubs who have trusted us to prepare players for their NRL programs” Holmes said.

“Our strong heritage aligned to our own pathway from Harold Matthews to the NSW Cup is strengthened further by this partnership giving our players a defined route to the NRL” Holmes added.

The Storm are keen to build on their already successful feeder arrangements within the QLD Cup and expand into the Knock On Effect NSW Cup competition.

“We have a long and proud partnership with both Easts and Falcons which has produced some great players for Storm over the years including our captain Christian Welch, Trent Loiero, Nicho Hynes and Tui Kamikamica,” Ponissi said.

“We were always interested in having a stronger connection with NSW Rugby League given the number of players we have on our list from the state, so when this opportunity was presented, we jumped at it,” Ponissi said.

“From next season, we will have an even greater connection with NSW through the Bears, offering a genuine pathway for players to come to Melbourne Storm.

“We also think this partnership will be great for supporters of both clubs living in New South Wales as they can watch NRL players in the NSW Cup each week and we also see North Sydney Oval becoming a base for the Storm for some of our away trips.” Ponissi said.

The contract will begin 1st November 2023 and allow for a number of Bears players and staff to participate in Storm’s pre-season training program. The agreement will also provide opportunities for our representative pathway program.

The Bears would like to thank the Sydney Roosters for their strong partnership over the last five years, and now the club looks forward to beginning a new journey with the Melbourne Storm from 2024.

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