Former skipper Kearney back in the
Storm fold

Former captain Stephen Kearney has returned to the Melbourne Storm as one of the club?s two assistant coaches for season 2006, focussing on the players? defence and forward structure.

His appointment, one of a number of changes at the club, comes as part of a concentrated effort by the Storm to bolster the football department.

The former New Zealand skipper joins the Storm having spent the past 12 months playing for English Super League Club, Hull F.C.

Storm CEO Brain Waldron believes Kearney?s return to Melbourne and subsequent addition to the Storm coaching staff can only improve the culture of the club.

?Stephen?s career and history with the Storm makes him an outstanding addition to this department,? said Waldron.

?The professionalism he displayed as a player and his standing in the game will come as a great example to our players.?

In other changes, former Assistant Coach Dean Lance has been elevated to the role of General Manager Football Operations; Peter O?Sullivan will take on the role of General Manager Recruitment and List Management; and Mary Toomey has been promoted to Physical Performance Co-ordinator.

Storm CEO Brain Waldron believes the quality of the football department is vital to the future success of the Melbourne Storm.

?Football is our core product and we need to have the best resources to ensure we get the best performance,? said Waldron.

O?Sullivan, in his former role as General Manager of Football Operations, also took on the additional responsibility of the club?s recruitment and list management.

?The recruitment and retention of our players is integral to our long term success,? said Waldron.

?The elevation of Dean Lance to General Manager of Football Operations enables Peter O?Sullivan to concentrate on building our future base of quality players.

?Peter has an outstanding history in this area and we look forward to reaping the benefits of his work.?

Lance has plenty of experience in the both the football and business side of rugby league.

Having worked in rugby league as a marketing manager and media liaison, Lance is currently studying a Masters of Sports Management degree at Griffith University, studies he will complete in February of 2006.

?Dean Lance now has outstanding credentials to fulfil the General Manager Football Operations role,? said Waldron.

?His appointment comes after a nationwide search and interview process to find the best person for the job.?

Toomey, who has been the club?s physiotherapist for the last 12 months, will now supervise and co-ordinate the development and delivery of all aspect of the playing squad?s physical performance.

Toomey will co-ordinate the delivery of strength and conditioning, rehabilitation, injury prevention and management, recovery, nutrition, hydration and associated programs to ensure both optimal program delivery and outcomes.