The 2015 State Of Origin series was a curious and compelling one – after the Blues broke the Maroon’s eight-year streak in 2014, Queensland took what had been a nip-tuck series with a record 52-6 victory in game three. Good luck predicting how things will go in 2016, but the Blues will be contesting it in a brand new jersey.
Classic Sportswear have been back with the Blues since 2009 (Classic supplied NSWRL from the first State Of Origin in 1980 until 1997), and in that time, their jerseys have been broadly very traditional and, dare we say it, even a trifle uninspired.
The 2016 vintage is a very, very different proposition – discarding the plain, flat sky blue for a sublimated design that incorporates a variety of chevrons rendered in diagonal hatched pinstripes.
The subtle chevron design isn’t a new one for rugby league, or even State Of Origin for that matter – the Queensland shirt has incorporated one since 2014 – but this is a real departure for Classic, and alongside the Brumbies 2016 shirts, showcases their increasingly bold design approach.
One notable thing about this shirt is the real lack of dark blue used in the design. It’s a feature that’s gradually been on the decline since the 2009-10 design high-water mark, but here’s it’s reduced to just subtle pinstriping and the collar.
We’ve always liked the combination of light and dark blue on the New South Wales shirt, but the increasing use of white here feels more modern than the blue would, and it definitely fits in with the vibe of the shirt overall.
The Maroon have toed a fine line between modern and classic with their shirts in the last couple of years – it’s encouraging to see the Blues follow suit here, and this is an encouraging first step into unconventional design from Classic.