The Bulldogs are one of the oldest teams in the NRL, and the club from Belmore have enjoyed a real resurgence in the last few seasons, having made the Finals series every year since 2012, including Grand Final appearances in 2012 and 2014. They’ve not won the Premiership proper since 2004, however, and they’ll be looking to change that in 2016.
In what is one of the more satisfying commercial partnerships in rugby league, Canterbury-Bankstown continues its relationship with Canterbury of New Zealand, which has been in place since the 2011 season. During that time, the club has moved away from the none-more 90s deep, plunging cadet stripe-esque double chevron that the club wore from 1997 to 2012, returning to the more traditional style that the club has generally favoured since the 1960s.
At first glance you might well think that this design is pretty much the same as last season’s 80th Anniversary home shirt, and while there are many similarities, a closer look reveals some key differences.
For starters, unlike previous seasons where the blue of the double chevron has gone around the top of the sleeves only, here the blue is much more prominent, completely covering the top third of the shirt, including the entirety of the sleeves and continuing around the back.
What’s more, the white segment dividing the two blue chevrons has been made thinner and longer here, extending all the way across the shoulders. Speaking of the chevrons, the point of the V has continued on the other side of the sponsor logo – here it’s been discarded, and we think it really works, making the shirt feel more clean and the sponsor less intrusive as a result.
We had huge affection for the Bulldogs’ blue and black change shirt last season, and so we’re delighted to see them keep the theme this season. Indeed, we’re inclined to think that the design looks even more striking with slightly Clipart-vibed ’80 Years’ decal removed.
These shirts aren’t totally devoid of nods to Canterbury-Bankstown’s long history however. On the back of both home and away shirts, in everyone’s favourite tramp stamp locale no less, is the ‘CB 1935’ motif that’s taken from the club badge – totally inoffensive and a nice not to the club’s heritage.
The Bulldogs go into the 2016 season with their sights aimed high, and once again they’re also challenging at the top of the NRL table in the jersey stakes.
In a league where wild and wacky designs are so often the order of the day, it’s nice to see that a clean, classy shirt can still turn heads. Nice.