Storm recruit George Jennings is set to join his teammate Josh Addo-Carr in being locked out of Victoria after rushing back to Sydney for the birth of his baby.
With COVID-19 on the rise in Sydney and fearing border closure, the ex-Parramatta winger left his pregnant partner just before Christmas to ensure he could be available for day one of the pre-season.
Due later this month the baby decided to make an earlier-than-expected appearance with the 27-year-old flying back to his home state on Thursday.
Storm football general manager Frank Ponissi had praised the “enormous sacrifice” Jennings and other players from NSW had made in missing family time to head to Melbourne.
“A lot of these new players have come from greater Sydney and had to make a decision to leave before Christmas and not spend it with their families,” Ponissi told the club website.
“They were supposed to come down in early January. For them to make those sacrifices is enormous and we’re really appreciative.
“George and the other players that have come down from Sydney have been training together the last few weeks and that’s made his adjustment a bit easier.”
Addo-Carr is also stuck in Sydney due to the border ban, with representative players given extra time off following the State of Origin series in November.
He and now Jennings have to quarantine in a hotel for 14 days if they return to Melbourne during the current restrictions.
Melbourne have attempted to secure an exemption, however the government have so far said that sports stars need to join the queue of Victorians attempting to get approval.
Fellow Origin campaigners Cameron Munster and Felise Kaufusi are due back from Queensland this weekend, with the Melbourne players heading to Geelong for their annual pre-season camp next week.