After a hiatus in 2016, one of the most exciting and newsworthy events in the rugby shirt calendar has returned with a bang – ISC’s incredible Marvel Heroes NRL jerseys are back for 2017, and this year we have nine teams taking the plunge with a superhero jersey of their very own – let’s take a look at what we’ve got to look forward to.
Melbourne Storm – Thor
Thor has been a prominent feature of the Marvel Heroes jerseys in both previous iterations, and this year is no different – however, while the design may look familiar, the team wearing it is not.
Yes, in a superb bit of synergy new ISC signings and lightning bolt obsessives the Melbourne Storm have come together with the god of thunder, and what a match made in heaven (or Asgard?) that is. Design wise, it’s similar to previous Thor designs worn by the Cowboys, but with more of the gold accents he has worn in recent Marvel movies.
St George Illawarra Dragons – Ant-Man
Our first new entry in the collection this year is from one of the Marvel cinematic universe’s more low-profile films – Ant-Man. The Dragons have had two cracks at the Iron Man jersey, so they’re definitely due a change, but this is one that still fits in with the vibe.
Taking inspiration squarely from Ant-Man’s movie costume, it’s mainly grey of course, but the large red panels on the front, back and shoulders make it still feel like a Dragons jersey, and one that’s very different from the previous Marvel designs.
Brisbane Broncos – Iron Man
The Broncos are another new addition to the Marvel Heroes stable this year, and another team that has also just joined up with ISC, and that’s perhaps why they’ve been given the blue-chip Iron Man jersey in their first outing.
By and large it’s very similar to the Dragons jerseys of the last two Marvel Heroes events, but that figures – it’s a shirt that’s supposed to look like Iron Man, after all… this one does feel more distinct to the last two however, as it’s clearly based more on the Captain America: Winter Soldier version of the armour, complete with prominent silver accents, and a slightly covered arc reactor in the chest. We notice these things, okay?
Newcastle Knights – Iron Patriot
Iron Man’s partner in crime is a new addition to the Marvel Heroes ranks, though James Rhodes’ previous black-armoured alter-ego, War Machine, was the Tigers’ jersey last time around. The Knights went with a Spider-Man design last time, but if anything this one is even more perfect for the Newcastle colour scheme.
The Patriot’s none more ‘Murican armour design works so well – blue, red and white are the three colours of the Knights of course, and the stripey way the accents have been done on the blue armour don’t just recall the American flag, but the strips of the Knights regular jerseys, too.
Sydney Roosters – Spider-Man
The Roosters have worn various Captain America-themed shirts in the last two Marvel Heroes rounds, but in the spirit of spinning the carousel, they’ve picked up the US comic giant’s other most iconic character – Spider Man.
Again, the inspiration here is clearly the most recent Marvel movie, Captain America: Civil War, as rather than the classic spandex we saw with the previous Knights design, this has more of a solid, technological feel, complete with the tell-tale black accents that set it apart from the comic book treatment.
Wests Tigers – Rocket Raccoon
Wests’ War Machine shirt of 2015 was a very cool design, but they somewhat crowbarred the Tigers’ orange into the colour scheme. This year’s shirt, inspired by the most diminutive and sarcastic Guardian Of The Galaxy, Rocket Raccoon, has no such problems, clearly!
Modelled on Rocket’s orange jumpsuit from the surprise megahit, we especially love the little touches on this design – the Guardians crest on the back of the shirt, or the faux-furry cuffs on the sleeves to represent everyone’s favourite not-actually-a-racoon. Flarkin’ awesome.
North Queensland Cowboys – Captain America
With the Storm much more suited to the Thor jersey, the Cowboys have picked up a Captain America jersey this year, and once again it’s a pairing that actually makes much more sense when you stop and really think about it.
While Cap’s red, white and blue colours might all be colours that we associate with the Cowboys, the way they’re put together here certainly doesn’t feel too much like a North Queensland design, there’s one key bit that does. It’s the star of course – Cap’s iconic chest star is a fine complement to the sheriff’s star on the Cowboys crest.
Canberra Raiders – Iron Fist
After two years with the now-iconic Hulk-themed semi-rippped jersey, the Raiders have opted to go for another green-hued Marvel hero – though it’s one that might not be as familiar to casual fans.
No doubt to capitalise on the surge in interest his forthcoming Netflix series will instill, the Raiders are sporting the look of Marvel’s martial arts supremo, Iron Fist, and while we don’t know if Danny Rand will wear the famous green pyjamas in his solo series, it seems like the vibe we get here is a more armoured version of the Fraction/Aja design than the classic big-collared open-shirt look – probably for the best!
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles – Falcon
We’re rounding off our look at the 2017 Marvel Heroes crop with another hugely fitting mix of club and character. After repping Daredevil back in 2015, which was a perfect colour fit for the maroon of Manly, the Sea Eagles have opted for more of a thematic match this year by choosing Marvel’s high-flying Falcon.
While primarily another dark grey and black design (such is the movies obsession with getting away from the super-colourful look of Sam Wilson in the comics) it still feels like a manly shirt thanks to the red accents, and the wing-style chevron on the front is a lovely little nod to both the classic league shirt design, and also the Sea Eagles crest – nice!