Plenty of teams start seasons with promise before going to pot, but the manner in which the Tigers’ 2015 ended, with star stalwart and captain Robbie Farah becoming a pariah after bizarre club politics that almost saw him leave over the off-season, was farcical even by NRL standards.
Thankfully the NSW hooker is still at Campbelltown to lead his young side, and so it the classic-looking home shirt from 2015, with its clean black-with-chevrons look. Unfortunately though, that rather awesome design has been somewhat tainted.
Firstly of course we get the new 2016 ISC collar, which is a bit of a departure from last year’s design. Your mileage may vary, but this reviewer at least prefers the old style.
The biggest change, however is the sponsor logo. We try not to moan about this much, but there’s no avoiding the issue when the sponsor is so big and ugly this season, it’s cut off the bottom of the chevron!
Not only does this take the point out of the V, both literally and metaphorically, it also makes the shirt feel very unbalanced, with the logo totally dominating the bottom half.
The tale of the away shirt is an ever sorrier one. Like the home it’s a tweaked version of last year’s design, but while the intrusion of the sponsor into the chevron was unsightly and unbalancing, here it totally ruins the basic design, which last season had the sponsor contained within the large black stripe that ran across the middle of the jersey. This year it’s just been slapped on where it was never meant to be, and it really looks it.
It’s a shame, because this is still a great away shirt and we still like the basic design a great deal. Despite the controversial grey that has neither to do with the founding Balmain or Western Suburbs clubs – the different blocks of colour and two-toned stripes is still a winner.
Finally we get to the third alternate jersey – a design that has an unusual, segmented, blocky approach… it’s almost like someone designed it in Microsoft Paint, but in a quite good way, y’know?
Like the away shirt it’s a jersey of two halves, and in all honestly it does rather feel like it might be two different designs stuck together. The bottom is a plain mass of solid Balmain orange, while the top third is white, intersected by a diagonal sash that runs through the NRL badge and then stops.
It’s a curious beast that gives it the feel of gladiatorial armour (or a toga if you’re feeling less generous), and by that we mean that it does actually work in a curious way. Like all the shirts here though, the niceness of the design is hampered by such an intrusive sponsor, rendering what should have been a proud, majestic Sheer Kahn to a sad, flumpy Tony the Tiger…
Review by Adam Rees.