The Melbourne Storm has again beaten other clubs to the punch, appointing a full-time acting coach to assist in the tactical use of the head injury assessment (HIA) process.
The club that pioneered the use of advanced sports science, data analysis and jiu-jitsu gurus has now appointed world-renowned acting coach Les Fayker, one of the finest performing arts teachers in the country.
Fayker has worked with thespian talent right across the spectrum, from stage performers to movie actors. Although he has previously consulted to several European soccer clubs, it is believed the Storm role is the first time he has worked in rugby league.
The news comes as critics hailed Cameron Munster’s portrayal of a man viciously struck in the head by a swinging arm in Friday night’s clash at AAMI Park. On appearance, most commentators were convinced that Munster was immediately unconscious or at least suffered a Category 1 concussion, and many expected a send-off to follow.
It was only after Storm general manager Frank Ponissi confirmed that “there was nothing wrong with him” and that Roosters player Victor Radley “hardly got him” that the true genius of Munster’s display was appreciated.
One expert judge was in awe of Munster’s efforts:
“The way Cameron was able to emulate that free-falling, limp drop to the ground was just too convincing to be the work of an amateur. His eyelid movement and his ability to fall floppily was masterful, and would be the envy of De Niro, Brando, Ledger, indeed all of the great method-actors. It has all the hallmarks of Fayker’s tuition.”
The appointment is sure to open the regular debate about the haves and have-nots in clubland. Clubs which are unable to afford the appointment of full-time acting consultants will be left with sub-par performances of the same low-quality as a Kenny Edwards leg cramp or a Josh Dugan knee injury, being B-grade at best.
Meanwhile, the Storm will enjoy the advantage of tactical use of the HIA process in a way other clubs will only dream about.
As one rival coach bitterly complained, “I’ve got 13 blokes who didn’t even get picked when they auditioned to be a camel in their Year 3 nativity play, yet you’ve got bloke channeling Daniel Day-Lewis. How is that a level playing field?”
But Peter V’landys was supportive of the lifting of acting standards in the NRL.
“I’ll admit we have a long way to catch up to soccer, but once again, these sorts of innovations that the Storm have started can only benefit the quality of the spectacle,” the chairman said.
“I’d like to think that one day, an NRL player might win the coveted double of a Dally M and an Academy Award in the same year.
“It’s only a dream at this stage, but we’re on the road now!”.