They may have completed an unprecedented domestic treble of Super League, Leaders Shield and Challenge Cup in 2015, but for this forthcoming season, Leeds will take to the field looking a little different to their last campaign. Two legends, not just at Headingley, but the sport in general, have departed but despite Jamie Peacock and Kevin Sinfield no longer wearing the famous blue and amber, and there’s been some changes behind the scenes with long term partner ISC. Let’s dive in and look at their efforts for the Rhinos…
Over the last few seasons, the European arm of Australian supplier ISC has lost several key contracts, including Wigan, St Helens, and most importantly, the RFL. More were expected to follow, but a crisis was averted with the rugby retailer Advantage Sports taking over ISC’s European operations, meaning that a number of major Super League kit contracts could be retained, including Leeds – undoubtedly the company’s biggest Northern Hemisphere client.
ISC needed to get this one right, and as has continually been the way with Leeds kits in recent years, they haven’t disappointed. Over the years, ISC have managed to continually revive traditional Leeds designs without having to resort to something out of the ordinary. By keeping things classic, they’ve pleased fans and jersey enthusiasts alike.
This year is no different, and although it’s not the pinnacle of Leeds ensembles made by ISC, you have to say they’ve done a damn fine job. We like yellow becoming really prominent again after taking a back seat on the Rhinos’ light/dark blue shades affair from 2015 here it’s resplendent in a the shape of a chest band, a real classic kit addition that’s unusual in rugby, but a regular element within Leeds’ palette.
It features within the main body alongside a thinner accompanying stripe, this also a common inclusion within the ISC/Leeds partnership. So far so good in our eyes, but now for the negatives, because let’s be honest, we’re a picky bunch and achieving kit perfection is a near impossible business and despite waxing lyrical about ISC, they have yet to accomplish total excellence with Leeds.
The yellow neckline and collar is nice, a standard ISC design, but there’s something not quite right in our eyes as perhaps blue should feature within one or the other, but it certainly shouldn’t all be the same hue as this gives what should be a discreet sidekick to the main design, far too much prominence.
The sleeves bring a similar tale as they are also excessive, fighting too hard with the main body for bragging rights on who will get most prominence. The smaller band on its own would have sufficed and then both competition sponsor logos would have fitted nicely underneath. Sadly though, to mimic the front, a thicker yellow strip is also present and with the motifs of First Utility and Kingstone Press placed on top, haphazardly too, alas spoiling the overall look for us which is a shame.
If the home shirt is a crowd-pleasing, classic design that will appeal to fans old and young, while also looking great on the field, the alternate shirt is something far more unconventional. Hooped change strips have been a regular feature for Leeds in recent season, with combinations of yellow, blue, grey and pink all used to varying degrees of success.
It’s no surprise that the hoops are back again this season then, and so is ultra-fashionable grey – this time paired with the equally trendy dark grey and lime green. It’s an unambiguously modern design, especially in contrast to the home, and while the colour combination might be a bit much for some (and some people just HATE grey shirts) we think it’s a grower. Even if the green and grey are a bit brash and in your face at first, stick with it and you might find yourself coming around to it. We did.
Times may be changing for Leeds, both on and off the field, but we wouldn’t bet against them being in the mix for trophies again this year, and they’ll be doing it wearing yet another pair of great shirts from ISC.