Fittler dares to give Blues jersey massive makeover
INNOVATIVE or a massive blue?
Navy Blues coach Brad Fittler has defied 111 years of history by altering the famous colour of NSW's rugby league jumper.
In a historic change from tradition, NSW will ditch their predominantly sky blue jumper for a navy blue jersey for the second Origin game in Perth next year.
The move prompted Maroons champion Gary Belcher to declare: "I don't think Queensland would ever go red instead of maroon."
But Fittler certainly does things differently, and who could argue after this year's 2-1 series victory?
The NSW jumper has been largely sky blue since NSW's first game against New Zealand in 1907 - a year before the NSWRL competition even started.
Maroons legend Chris Close has brushed off the change, branding the move a cash grab.
"My personal preference is that they stick with tradition," Close said.
"But I don't see any real problem going away from that.
"In this day and age it's all about marketing and media. It's about the cash but if they do it for one game, who cares?"
NSW's jersey for the 1997 ARL series was split between navy blue and sky blue.
It continues Fittler's distinctive left-field approach to coaching NSW.
NSW star Tyson Frizell, along Manly pair Jake and Tom Trbojevic, modelled the limited edition jumper at The Star on Thursday night.
"I'm wearing it now - it looks pretty cool," Tom Trbojevic told The Daily Telegraph. "They have switched it all around. It would be really special to go to Perth and wear this jersey."
Frizell added: "It's different but there is still blue on there. I haven't worn a jersey that has been a dark blue. I'm sure it will have the same meaning for all the fans.
"It's a nice alternate jersey. Little kids and people that support will probably want to get their hands on the jersey. It's great for the game."
Blues legend Bradley Clyde also supported the change.
"It's certainly different. It has moved with the times but still kept a lot of the traditions that NSW has had for more than 100 years," Clyde said.
Fittler offered up reasons why he pushed for the new jumper design.
"We pride ourselves on being innovative and this will be the first time in State of Origin history that a team has used an alternate jersey," Fittler said.
"It aligns with our vision of taking a fresh new approach to the series, and the game's decision to take Origin matches to new frontiers. We fully support any move to grow rugby league's showpiece event to even more fans.
"We're confident our alternate strip will inspire a new generation of Blues supporters, and give the crowd in Perth even more reason to get behind us as we defend the shield."
Clothing sports company Canterbury claim the revolutionary jumper will include a "raglan rear sleeve construction to reduce resistance through lateral arm motion and external stretch tape at back neck for strength and durability".
NSWRL Head of Commercial Jodie Cross wants fans to "get behind" the jersey.
"It was important for us to keep NSW's core elements intact, which is reflected in the chevron being incorporated into the design and the sky blue colour retained in the jersey," she said.
"We urge all NSW supporters to get behind their team and take advantage of a unique opportunity to own a limited edition jersey."
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