Far be it from me to criticise those who specialise in 'colour design', but I was disappointed with the dullness of the strip. It's not sharp like the Geelong Cat's navy blue hoops on white, nor indeed Collingwood's vertical black and white sharp stripes.
I am also concerned that the colours and patterns are similar to some of the other clubs, such as Hawthorn with its gold and brown, and I wonder if there will be a process to distinguish the teams for the many TV viewers.
I recall that when Geelong plays Collingwood (the Magpies) or North Melbourne (Kangaroos – blue and white vertical stripes), whose jerseys may look similar from a distance, they clearly distinguish their team by varying the colour of the shorts. One team will wear white shorts, while the other wears their respective dark colour shorts.
I also recall that when we only had black and white TV, the 'home' team always wore white shorts and the 'away' team always wore black shorts so that they were thus distinguishable by the audience.
All this colour coding got me pondering on 'colours'.
Colours are certainly an important identifier, particularly when playing team sports. In ancient times, before people could read and write, they were also important to show people where their own 'group' was, particularly on the battlefield where it is important to know friend from foe.
We now use the name 'colours' to refer to a flag – but once upon a time, the flag was really the 'colours' that bound people together as a coherent whole – hence the term 'nailing your colours to the mast', which may mean running the flag up the flagpole or it may mean identifying a ship at sea by hoisting the ship's 'colours'. Either way, it means identifying yourself with the rest of the team or group.
The Bible puts the same thing a different way, possibly referring to openly declaring your faith, when it says in Matthew 5:15 "Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house"
We can easily identify many athletes at international events by the colours of their uniforms. Orange is associated with all the Dutch national teams, in any international competition. For example, anyone who watched the Dutch play in either the Hockey World Cup held in India or the Football World Cup in South Africa must be impressed with their bright orange clothing.
Dutch spectators come out in force wearing the 'orange' in all manner of attire such as pom-poms, hats, flags, shorts, shoes … anything really. The colours imply support.
Australians are similarly supportive with their green and gold decorations; even resorting to face-paint and fake tatoos as well as clothing. And the Canadians are partial to their red sports gear (representing the maple leaf); even their swimmers' skull caps cannot be mistaken during a close race.
A high profile basketballer told me once that it was crucial in their game, that by even taking half a glimpse, you know where your team mate is. The colours of each team's uniforms in this fast game become critical.
My own passion is hockey, and in following the Kookaburras, I can surmise that colours can play and even more important role than simply identification; they can be useful in creative plays and tactical ploys. It fascinates me that the Kookaburras will often choose their dark green shirt with a light yellow stripe (against a dark green artificial hockey pitch) rather than the easily seen bright yellow shirt.
One of hockey's major defensive plays is the mid field intercept and the yellow shirt would certainly advertise where you were on the field. If you want to be camouflaged so that the opposition cannot find you easily, then a dark green shirt on a dark green surface might not be such a bad idea.
But back to AFL, with players spread out on a very large field, identification is the key. At least the orange stripe in Giants' new colours is easily distinguished (as it is with Dutch athletes), and it is not a colour used by any of the other AFL clubs. Even so, I personally think that an opportunity has been lost, with a new club, of designing a more attractive jersey.