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04/12/2014

Australian Rugby League

A system of uniforms for the Kangaroos and other national teams

Note: I’ve made a new template to show designs on. Its an upgrade of my last template but has the Canterbury (CCC) styled collar which I think is the best around at the moment.

Introduction

After a nine month hiatus, I finally have had the time to post something new. Given that the Rugby League Four Nations has just finished, I figured now would be an ideal time to work on some international team concepts. First of which is the Australian Kangaroos and other Australian national representative sides (Jillaroos, PM’s XIII and Junior Kangaroos) with the aim of producing unique yet cohesive identities for each team.

The overarching theme across this series is “less is more”. Regular visitors will no doubt know that this is my normal approach to things so it is to be expected anyway.

Existing Identity

For the most part, the existing identity is not too bad. The top tier national teams, the Kangaroos and Jillaroos, are based on traditional designs. The PM’s XIII and Junior Kangaroos are tweaks on the traditional double V design but are reasonably subtle. I like what Canterbury has done overall, even though there were some concerns initially when they took over the contract from Classic.

Clockwise from top left: Jillaroos [1], Junior Kangaroos [2], Prime Ministers XIII [3], Kangaroos [4]

Clockwise from top left: Jillaroos [1], Junior Kangaroos [2], Prime Ministers XIII [3], Kangaroos [4]

The main Issues I have are with the excessive logo clutter (particularly on the Kangaroos jersey) as well as the overdosing of the double V on the shorts and (originally) on the socks.

NRL logos

The green and gold logos are fairly homogeneous [5]

The standardisation of logos across the NRL and rep teams has its good points, namely unifying the state leagues and development programs with the top tier club comp, but it also removes a bit of the identity of actual teams. I addressed this in last year’s State of Origin set by bringing back traditional logos for the actual team while keeping the state league logos in a secondary role (on the shorts). I don’t like any of the current national team logos that sit on the left hand side chest. They are fairly bland, being green and gold like about 2/3rds of the logos in the standardised set, the identifying elements are shoehorned in, and the logos are fairly nebulous in concept outside of the Kangaroos.

On the other side of the chest is the coat of arms, standard fare for Australian sporting teams, which I’m a big fan of having since its a fairly unique thing on the world stage. However, the coat of arms laid bare over the double V leads to a muddled mess. Additionally, the “commemorative text” gets lost in the design and requires a clunky box to clear things up.

On top of that, the Kangaroos jersey has a major sponsor on the front and a white ribbon above the point of the double V. I understand that league does not have the clout or financial stability of other international sports, meaning that sponsors are a necessity. However, I’d like to see a more measured approach to what goes on the jersey. Its not too bad as it is, compared to the NRL and State of Origin, but it could still be improved with a reshuffle and simplification. After all, the national jersey(s) is a prestigious thing and should not have a compromised identity.

Parallax

Common Themes

Coat of Arms

Jack Rayner (c 1949) [6]

Jack Rayner (c 1949) [6]

Each team is identified by the Australian coat of arms, as it is today. I’ve wanted to see the coat of arms placed in a shield/badge for a few years now as its really the only way to avoid clashing elements. The shield was a mainstay on the Kangaroos jersey until the early-mid 2000s (2003 maybe?) and worked well with the jersey design. My favourite Kangaroos jerseys have pretty much all used a police badge shaped shield or similar.

The coat of arms has been simplified from its current version and is placed on a badge that best frames what is a cumbersome shape (due to the length of the kangaroo tail). The inner shield in the coat of arms no longer contains the badges of each Australian state but instead takes cues from the Australian flag concept I posted in February. It removes the complexity of having six different factions represented in a tiny shield while representing the country as a whole through its red centre and landscape. This is purely a hypothetical exercise but I would love to see something like this in use. The coat of arms is sublimated as opposed to embroidered and allows more detail to be visible. Each national team has a banner underneath the main badge with the team name to differentiate between them.

Vintage Numbers

To go with the older style coat of arms, the numbers are styled similar to those seen before 1980 (where block numbers took over).

Double V

All of the national representative jerseys contain the double V synonymous with the Kangaroos, and now all of Australian rugby league. The double V on its own is reserved for both top tier teams, the Kangaroos and Jillaroos, while the addition of thin hoops distinguishes them from the Junior Kangaroos and PM’s XIII.

Minimal Clutter

The number of logos on the front of the jersey has been reduced from five to three (including one that is nearly invisible). The Kangaroos logo was shifted to the shorts and the Holden logo put in its place on the jersey. The jersey does not have any commemorative text sewn in as I find that usually adds to the mess. The G logo, the name on back, and the player’s cap number are “embossed” on the jersey so the major focus is on the team itself and, to a lesser extent, the primary sponsor.

Proposed Designs

The Kangaroos

The Kangaroos jersey remains fairly untouched in style. The major changes were addressed in the previous section. A clash uniform was created, substituting green shorts for white ones. I wanted to provide a clash uniform without ruffling the feathers of traditionalists in Australia and New Zealand (the red clash doesn’t seem to bother English fans). The white shorts would be worn in away games against teams wearing predominantly dark uniforms, mainly New Zealand in New Zealand, maybe Scotland as well. This would provide enough of a contrast for pretty much all scenarios without requiring a completely different jersey.

Some of the featured details are shown below. The details are similar on all national team jerseys.

The Jillaroos

I wanted to clearly distinguish between the Jillaroos and other national sides.The Jillaroos retain the traditional double V style, signifying their equivalence to the Kangaroos as the top level national team. I like how they currently have an inversion of the Kangaroos design. I’ve taken it further and applied it to the shorts. Probably too crazy for some but it would certainly stand out amongst their competitors.

Jillaroos uniform

The Prime Ministers XIII

The PM’s XIII is one level below the Kangaroos national team and their annual game against PNG is seen as an opportunity for Kangaroos selection. In recent times, the PM’s XIII has used the traditional double V combined with horizontal stripes. I made all of the stripes the same thickness to combine this style with the original green and gold jersey (c. 1928) which was hooped.

Prime Minister’s XIII uniform

The Junior Kangaroos

The Junior Kangaroos are an inversion of the PM’s XIII jersey and socks.

Junior Kangaroos uniform

Sources

[1]     http://www.sportette.com.au/10-next-steps-womens-rugby-league/

[2]     http://www.raiders.com.au/news/2013/10/16/photo-gallery-junior-kangaroos-v-junior-kiwis-6223.html

[3]     http://www.pngloop.com/2014/09/15/officials-name-pms-xiii-kumuls-week/

[4]     http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-17/kangaroos-team-photo-ahead-of-four-nations/5823302

[5]     http://www.nrl.com/rugby-league-launches-new-brand-logo/tabid/10874/newsid/70308/default.aspx

[6]     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Australia_national_rugby_league_team_players

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