To say that 2015 was a rough year for the Gold Coast Titans is like saying that Sam Burgess’ time in rugby union didn’t pan out as hoped – true, but it hardly tells the whole story. Between the cocaine scandal, administration, a takeover by the NRL and the Daly Cherry-Evans backflip, it’s amazing the Titans could keep it together to win any games at all, and it’s no wonder they were one of the NRL’s worst teams last year.
But 2016 brings a great deal of change to the Queensland team as they enter their 10th season, with a host of new faces looking to banish some awkward and unpleasant recent memories. They’ll be looking to forge that new identity in some striking new kits from BLK.
Since BLK took on the Titans contract in 2014, the Titans have worn sky blue home shirts with gold chevrons, and while they had their charms, there was something about the design that didn’t quite work. For 2016, though they’ve changed things up considerably – and in doing so they’ve kinda gone back to the future.
The 2016 shirt does away with the gold chevron and instead we have a very striking, very modern shirt that incorporates the sky blue only as big part of a 50 Shades Of Blue design, centred on the outline of a Corinthian helmet, more commonly seen on the top half of the Titans badge.
It’s actually a very cool design, provided the slightly odd wireframe look of the hatched body section doesn’t put you off, and we actually really like the way the eye slits of the helmet create a pseudo-chevron effect.
As befits the club’s 10th season, it’s interesting that this Corinthian helmet motif isn’t actually a totally new idea for the Titans. Back when they were kitted out by Adidas in 2013, the helmet motif was used prominently on the front of the jersey as well, continuing a theme of armour-tastic sublimated designs from the German manufacturer.
We think this one works better though – the helmet feels more like it’s part of the design, and we like the subtle nod to the traditional league V.
The alternate shirt, unlike many alternate shirts you see these days, is a totally distinct and bespoke design to the home – something that BLK seems to do quite a lot. It’s always a nice thing to see.
The design does have a thematic similarity to the home one however, in that we again makes use of the Corinthian helmet motif as a league-style chevron, but here it’s a much more overt. With the gold and sky blue trim it has a much more standard look, but still has a distinct, Titan-y vibe.
In truth, we think this shirt works a great deal better than the home design – it’s a lot less busy and cluttered, the simplicity of the chevron gives the shirt a clean, classy vibe without being quite as traditional as last year.
We also really like the sky blue and gold trim, and the way it’s repeated with a band across the shoulders on the back.
Last season the Titans wore a third ‘alternate’ shirt that bore a passing resemblance to the old Gold Coast Seagulls jersey, with it’s hoops and pinstripes. It wasn’t officially called a Heritage shirt, but the vibe was very retro.
This year, however, the third jersey is being described as a Heritage number, despite the fact that it actually looks less retro than last year! It’s still clearly a nod to the Seagulls shirt, with its thick blue and white hoops plus the blue and gold pinstripes.
It’s very similar to last year’s shirt of course, with the exception of the blue hoop, which this time around has been textured with a very-not-retro faded line pattern. BLK must be very much into this pattern at the moment, as they also used it on this season’s Toulouse shirts, but we think it works here, and puts a modern twist on the retro look.
Titans fans have had an absolutely torrid time of things in the last year or so, and they’ve had really very little to cheer about. They’ll be hoping 2016 brings them better fortune, and at the very least they have a trio of the most unique shirts in the NRL to kick that all off…