NRL stars past and present struggled to keep a straight face during the filming of the upbeat new NRL Digital Pass television commercial that's set to get tongues wagging around water coolers and tea rooms in the lead-up to season kick-off.
NRL.com went behind the scenes at the filming of the the ad, which features a mock '80s-style 'hair metal' song ‘Straight in Your Eyes’ - destined to be the biggest stick-in-your-brain tune of the footy season – and an actor portraying the stereotypical rock star front man.
The fun ad features NRL stars Josh Morris, Dan Hunt, Adam Reynolds, David Nofoaluma, James Segeyaro and Darcy Lussick – as well as retired stars Mark Geyer, Wendell Sailor and Steve Menzies.
After filming, Hunt told NRL.com he had found it difficult to look serious while the ad’s spandex-wearing focal character was leaping onto his and other players’ shoulders during one of the scenes – or at least "it was when you're looking at Josh Morris – with his missing neck it's pretty funny!"
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Hunt said fans deserve the greater access to live footy the Digital Pass brings. "With social media and technology becoming so rampant it's a good step forward for Telstra and the NRL."
"I've got heaps of family and friends that get pay television just for the footy and now they can watch it live on an app on their phone. You don't need to be at home to watch it. I think it's unreal and it's using technology the way it should be used."
Morris said appearing in the ad was something a bit different and a good change away from footy.
"I think the fans will enjoy it, it's probably something that hasn't been done, channelling the '80s back in that style!
“I think the older people will like it as much as the younger crew, so it should be good."
Morris said he had the pass last year and found it really good – "so hopefully the fans get online and check it out and access the online passes and use their devices to log on."
Nofoaluma enjoyed his first experience filming a TV commercial.
"I think [the Digital Pass] is a pretty good way to get a lot of fans involved in the game and support a lot of the clubs with membership and so on... it's massive.
"It'd be good if they come to the games but if they can't make it for any reason then you've got the app there."
Both Geyer and Sailor said they felt privileged to be asked to be involved.
"It was good to see so many clubs participate, and it was good to see so many young blokes looking so fit at this time of year!" Geyer said. "It's always good to be included in this type of thing even though I've been retired for so long."
He said using technology to increase fans' access to the game was a positive.
"We all want it – and we want it now, don't we? The technology has brought along a lot of accessibility to different things so why not rugby league? We want our rugby league and we want it now – and Telstra's going to give us that."
Sailor said while the shoot was a lot of fun it also brought a healthy respect for what the game's doing.
"I know the last couple of years with my social media, even at the Dragons and the clubs, one thing the members want is access," he said.
"Whether it's the best seats in the house or the latest information, rather than going to the news services or waiting for the papers, they just access it. They go to the NRL's website, to the club website – that's all part of this membership packages we're trying to sell. And even this [commercial]... they get to see some of their favourite players up there, having a bit of fun with it, trying to enjoy themselves."