This season marks the renewing of an old relationship for the Penrith Panthers and their new kit supplier, Classic Sportswear – as the pair have some history together, and very successful history at that. The last time the Panthers wore Classic gear was all the way back in 2003, but that was a pretty good year in Penrith history – it also happened to be the last time the club captured the Premiership title.
If the partnership is the renewing of old friendships, then, there’s also something very familiar about the design of the home and away jerseys that Classic has produced for this reunion year.
Last season saw the Panthers ditch the teal and return to the style of the much-loved ‘liquorice allsort’ jerseys that the club wore in the 1990s, and that continues this year, in remarkably similar fashion.
So, the home and away shirts once again have the same graphic on the front, which features a black to white fade with three coloured stripes in the middle and some tonal stripes down the front.
They also both sport the same striped sleeve cuffs and asides from a white to black palette swap they’re otherwise identical.
It musts be said that they’re also totally identical in almost every way to the ASICS-produced designs of last season – the only real difference that we can spot is a new wider collar and a different logo on the shoulders and the jock tag.
In some ways it makes sense – if the Panthers are serious about keeping this colour scheme for the long term, they want to keep things consistent over the first few years it comes back, but it doesn’t have to be this consistent…
The third jersey is at least a drastic departure from the cookie-cutter home and away shirts in its design… but that’s pretty much the only good thing we can really say about it.
We suspect that a lot of the ‘third’ shirts that clubs are wearing this season are repurposed Nines jerseys that were redundant after the tournament was cancelled, and this eye-grabbing ‘panther camo’ jersey certainly fits the bill in that regard.
Yup, we said ‘panther camo’ – look closely at the tonal camo pattern used here and you’ll see that it’s actually made up of loads of overlapping panthers, a pattern that’s continued on the red, green and yellow panther sleeve hoops. We don’t need to tell you this is all awful, do we?
If the home and away shirt show a bit too much conservatism, the third does rather remind us that there’s such a thing as getting too creative sometime. By that measure, maybe sticking to what worked was the right call after all!