HeraldSun: ESSENDON will open its doors to TV crews like never before this season for a warts-and-all program devised by Russell Crowe.
The Bombers are the first AFL club to agree to take part in Damage Control, a sports version of real-life hospital drama RPA.
To be screened in prime time on Channel Seven late in the season, the program will cover every Bomber injury as it happens on gameday and track each victim's rehabilitation.
Producers of the program, Beyond International, are in discussions with two other Melbourne-based AFL clubs, with at least one more poised to join the Bombers before the season starts.
Damage Control cameras are already embedded at A-League club Melbourne Victory and will today film the knee reconstruction of Matthew Kemp.
Crowe's NRL club South Sydney is also involved, and elite netball team the New South Wales Swifts.
David Alrich, co-executive producer with Crowe, yesterday said the constant access provided by the Bombers to injured players was unprecedented.
"Players are a club's most important asset . . . this is a chance like never before to see how they are looked after," Alrich said.
The medical staff at Windy Hill will gain a national profile as the show tracks training, rehabilitation, and surgery.
It is a major departure from traditional policy for Essendon. Injuries were often a taboo subject under former coach Kevin Sheedy, with players missing with the "Windy Hill" flu common.
But because footage will be stockpiled, and the program will not screen for several months, in-house secrets will not be revealed in the lead-up to matches.
Hollywood star Crowe will also be the narrator.