Some AFL jumpers are good, some are bad and some are downright ugly. Here are the 35 strangest.
35. Essendon – the wide sash
In the mid 2000s clash jumpers became all the rage. Teams that had previously played against one another with similar colours were now not allowed to do so – The AFL started applying the screws and stating that alternatives uniforms had to be developed by all clubs. Essendon steadfastly refused to develop an alternate strip saying their constitution didn’t allow them to change their jumper from a red sash on a black background. Some would say it’s a pity there was nothing in their constitution about not taking performance enhancing drugs but that’s a whole other story. The result of Essendon’s constitutional dilemma (it’s Mabo, it’s the vibe) was a clash jumper with an extra wide red sash and, in a throwback to the early days of colour TV in the mid 1970s, red shorts. This was the clash strip Essendon rocked out in for games against St Kilda and similar up until 2011.
34. West Coast – yellow peril
When the West Coast Eagles and the Brisbane Bears both entered the expanded VFL in 1987, they came bearing yellow home jumpers and colour inverted away jumpers. Yellow was a smart move as only Hawthorn had any yellow in their jumpers. The concept of separate home and away jumpers was a new idea for the VFL, as was stylised logos and team nicknames on jumpers. Over time the Eagles seemed to prefer their predominately blue ‘away’ jumper and ran with that in the 1990’s most notably in the 1992 & 1994 premierships. Notice below how the issue of a uniform clash in an away game with Footscray was handled in 1989: yellow shorts. Bring them back!
33. Gold Coast – boring
Above is the jumper the Gold Coast Suns wore in their season in the VFL prior to entering the AFL – it looked like a training jumper. The Gold Coast then went to great lengths to develop a nickname, logo, song and jumper for their inaugural season in the AFL. They said their jumper wouldn’t be like a traditional football jumper, it would be innovative, bold and different. Instead, as seen below, they added a yellow strip on each side of their VFL jumper and kept the plain ‘GC’ logo. Boring.
32. St Kilda – The Crusader
St Kilda hadn’t won a premiership of any kind for 30 years when they defeated the reigning premiers, Carlton, in the 1996 pre-season competition. They did it wearing this crusader styled jumper and enjoyed it so much they changed their home jumper to this design in 1997. It was their lucky jumper, it propelled them all the way to the grand final where Shane Ellen (who?) and Darren Jarman kicked 11 goals between them to sink the Saints. Not so lucky jumper perhaps.
31. Fremantle – Green Machine
Fremantle burst onto the AFL scene in 1995 in three colours: purple and green with a splash of red. Two of these colours, purple and green, had never been seen at AFL level before and for this reason the Dockers clashed with no one at all. Therefore it was hard to fathom why Freo bothered developing this mainly green strip for away games. At least it’s an opportunity to show Spider Burton and a signed footy card of ‘The Prince’, Scotty Chisholm