General Footy Writing: Hawks and Eagles match highlights jumper absurdities

By Sam Steele

This was going to be another match report in response to Messrs Harms’ and Daffey’s hint that I play myself into form in order to be considered for “the book”. Sadly, my attention on a scrappy but nonetheless crucial West Coast v Hawthorn game was insufficient to complete the task, but my brief observation of the contest prompted the following rant.

I’m not a fan of the clash jumper.

As a traditionalist, I don’t like the idea of messing with uniforms that have been unchanged for decades.  I don’t like that the AFL, having insisted that all clubs have change strips, seems to lack the will to enforce a strict and consistent policy for wearing them.  Bully-boy Collingwood can get away with wearing its traditional stripes in away games against North Melbourne, while Melbourne, adhering strictly to the policy, gets universally pilloried for its choice of a bland grey strip.

Even the coloured umpires’ uniforms are flawed.  Green is a regular colour for the erstwhile “men in white”.  But green is also the colour of grass, the surface of choice for our great game.  Not surprising that players are bumping into them.  But then, recently for the Essendon-Adelaide game, where the predominant team colours were red, black/dark blue and yellow, the umpires were wearing yellow!

But since the match between West Coast and Hawthorn in Round 13, I’m convinced that the arrangement has got completely out of hand.  At Subiaco, the home team, West Coast, which has probably the largest range of uniforms of any team to choose from (it’s much easier to change your jumper when you’ve not been around long enough to have formed any traditions), chose the one with a large splodge of white and yellow on the front, adorned with an eagle’s head.  Their opponents, Hawthorn, obviously concerned about a clash of two strongly yellow uniforms, abandoned the traditional “poo and wee” stripes and instead went for their predominantly white “clash strip”, which featured – you guessed it – a hawk’s head.

The result?  Total confusion for the TV viewer.  Probably confusion for the spectators who had the added challenge of watching the game in unusually stormy weather.  No doubt confusion for the players (although not to the extent that Hawthorn could use it as an excuse for another mediocre loss).

It’s an easy fix.  Either do away with the alternate strip and make a virtue of traditional uniforms, even when they do clash.  Or implement it properly like most professional football codes seem capable of doing.

About Sam Steele

50 years a Richmond supporter. Enjoying a bounteous time after 37 years of drought. Should've been a farmer!


  1. Pamela Sherpa says

    I concur with you entirely Sam. The alternative jumpers are an eyesore and some are harder to look at than the originals.
    It’s become a complete farce and I can’t believe that they are putting the Gold Coast team in RED, a colour which several teams already have.

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