The Warriors went into last season with a great deal of hype surrounding their much improved squad, and after taking the runner up spot in the Auckland Nines, talk of Premierships was in the air… that talk proved to be rather premature however, as the men from New Zealand slumped at the end of the season to once again finish 10th in the ladder. The Warriors’ performances haven’t really done their awesome shirts justice in the last few years, but do they have a shirt worthy of the finals in 2017?
Canterbury once again provide the gear this time around, and in contrast to the striking ‘Fern chevron’ from last year, the 2017 variant is a great deal more stripped down. We do have a chevron again this year, but it’s very subtle one, with two fading red pinstripes and four silver pinstripes giving just the merest hint of the traditional V.
The subtlety continues throughout the jersey, with only a bit of subtle red pinstriping on the collar and around the Canterbury 360º Loop neckline, plus some thick red sleeve cuffs and a small, discreet Warrior logo at the back of the shirt with ‘Est 1995’ at the very bottom of the rear of the jersey.
While this shirt isn’t as eye-grabbing as Warriors jerseys of yore, but that’s no bad thing – Canterbury knows a thing or two about subtle classy design, and they’ve brought that vibe to rugby league in a way that blends the classic with the modern in a very distinctive way.
The away jersey is a simple palette swap of white for black on the home shirt, though interestingly Canterbury has opted to keep the sleeves and the 360º Loop neckline black, which gives the jersey some nice contrast, and makes it feel suitably distinct from the home design.
Once feature we haven’t spoken about on both jerseys is the motif that runs down both sides in a very restrained, tonal fashion. This is a koru – in Maori culture, a new unfurling silver fern frond symbolises new life, growth, strength and peace. The koru also represents nurturing, care and protection.
Given that this is a season of great change for the Warriors, with the significant figure of former Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney coming in to right the ship and hopefully get the Warriors to where they want to be, the notion of a jersey that symbolises new life and new beginnings is very apt.
While these jerseys might not be the most striking ones the Warriors have worn in the last few seasons, perhaps that’s not unintentional – when you have snazzy shirts but can’t finish better than 10th in the ladder, it might be wise to dial down the attention grabbing and just go about your business quietly. With these classy, restrained 2017 jerseys, the Warriors will be hoping that their business is good.