Today, Parramatta Eels CEO Bernie Gurr launched the jersey that the club will wear from 2018 onwards.
In a massive nod to the history of the Eels, the hooped design made famous during the 1960s will take the club forward into a bright future. With a new apparel partner in ISC and a new major sponsor in ALAND, November has been a positive month for the club.
In his press statement, Gurr emphasised the importance of identity:
“We wanted a jersey that represented the Parramatta Eels and its rich history. There was a strong wish to create a Parramatta Eels identity. Consistent with a traditional jersey and our Club’s history, we also wanted to return to our blue and gold colours. We have reverted to the slightly darker, marine blue of earlier eras and changed to a genuine gold from the recent yellow colour. We think both the marine blue and gold are rich, powerful colours.”
Since the 1970s, the Parramatta club has had its fair share of jerseys. Indeed, we’ve even produced memorabilia to honour the jerseys worn by the Eels.
Now, in this era of ever-changing strips, and special event designs, it’s a powerful statement for the club to produce a jersey that embodies a traditional design and says, “This is who we are!”
My early rugby league heroes wore this kit. Ken and Dick Thornett, Bob O’Reilly, Keith Campbell, Ivor Lingard, John McMartin and Ron Lynch all shed blood in these colours. The 60s may not have produced a title (the Dragons had a big say in that!), but it was a period in the club’s history when we produced Australian representatives, had legends of the game in the team, and gave the blue and gold faithful their first taste of finals football.
Clubs with a rich tradition have readily recognised jerseys. The red V of the Dragons, the Roosters Tri colours and the myrtle and blood Souths gear all embody the history and identity of their teams. There is something special about having a perpetual jersey to represent your club.
As a traditionalist, I’d much prefer that the home jersey was worn no matter the venue. However, we must accept that the NRL has an expectation of a jersey range from every club. Super hero, Indigenous, heritage and retro strips are typically available for all NRL teams. It’s just part of the landscape of professional footy.
The glimpse of the full kit on the players reveals the white shorts and hooped socks further authenticating the genuine “footy” look that will be synonymous with the Eels gear. Once the players take to the field in the new jerseys, it will look even better.
Bring on 2018. There’s plenty to look forward to!
Eels for ever!