The New Zealand Warriors have developed a reputation for eye-catching and inventive jersey designs during their history, and particularly in their long association with Canterbury, but the 2017 primary jerseys were, by their standards, almost restrained.
With the Warriors opting to stick with the same designs for their week-in-week out jerseys for 2018, however, they’ve left it to the alternative designs to raise our eyebrows – and that’s certainly the case with the stunning new Heritage jersey for 2018.
The multi-coloured designs of the original mid-90s Warriors jerseys are some of the most memorable and distinctive worn in either code, and so it makes sense that the current generation likes to revisit them from time to time.
Rather than go for the classic curved chevron of those original shirts, however, the 2018 design instead opts for something a bit more classic, with the multi-coloured chevrons splitting the white bottom and blue top of the design.
Honestly, we’re not totally in love with the half-blue, half-white back of the design, but it’s more than compensated for by a really lovely and distinctive take on the classic Warriors formula up front.
It’s still a super-classy and clean design, however, which isn’t the first words that spring to mind when we see the new Indigenous jersey…
First up, if you’re thinking that this is a pretty wild jersey, even for an alternate, you’d be right – but we’re not entirely convinced that this shirt was intended to be an ‘Indigenous’ design, even if it fits the bill perfectly.
Due to the RLWC, the Auckland 9s has been cancelled for 2018 (along with the NRL All Star Game) meaning that we won’t get our usual dose of wild and wacky jerseys for that occasion. We suspect that the late cancellation has seen several teams repurpose their 9s shirt for regular season use, and we’d wager that’s what happened here.
It’s still a perfect Indigenous jersey candidate, however – with the proud Maori warrior dominating the bottom of the design, ready for battle. As you’d expect, there’s a meaning behind every element of the design.
The two weapons he’s holding have significance – the patu is a strong attacking and defensive weapon, while the tewhatewha is the weapon of a chief. The ferns at the bottom represent New Zealand, of course, while the mist is spirit – wairua – and pays homage to Aotearoa and also connects the wearer to their ancestors, and the sky mother and father.
Both of these shirts are striking and memorable in different ways – the Heritage shirt is fittingly classic, with a modern clean design sensibility that really makes it feel timeless. The Indigenous shirt is another matter entirely – hugely striking, hugely unique, and very, very polarising.