2014 NAB Challenge Posts

St Kilda Jumper Talk: 2014 Edition

Like the pre-season itself, it’s become harder over time to take the jumpers made for the NAB [Whatever it is now] seriously.

The mid-90s saw several designs that would be regularly worn throughout following premiership seasons. North Melbourne’s 1995 blue yolk with stripes and Kangaroo was one of the first an instant favourite, and was the club’s away jumper for several seasons.

St Kilda took things a step further, adopting the hot-cross bun design worn for the 1996 Ansett Cup premiership as the home jumper a season later – and very nearly it became a premiership jumper (and thus, perhaps, the club’s home design in perpetuity).

The design completed the treble in 2002 when it was demoted to away jumper status (in the days when “away” jumpers weren’t necessarily “clash” jumpers), and was the basis for 2001’s infamous Pura Lightstart one-off and the resulting, improved clash jumper with red trim worn for 2002 and 2003. Incidentally, the first appearance of the “Yellow Peril” was against Carlton in Round 20, 2001, and its last appearance was against Carlton in Round 20, 2003.

Other examples of those times when 60,000-plus would attend a pre-season final include Melbourne’s first stylised M design, which inspired a couple of away/clash jumpers over the next decade, and Adelaide’s 1996 design – which was pitted against St Kilda’s new hot cross bun design in the quarter finals – which would inspire the Crows’ clash jumper all of 12 years later. Also, there’s Fitzroy’s pre-season jumper worn in 1995 and 1996, which featured half-chevrons that were echoed in what for all intents and purposes should have been St Kilda’s clash jumper in place of the dreaded “apron” design, but for a potentially rigged vote.

Fast forward nearly two decades and St Kilda this year ran around in two of its three NAB Challenge games in the popular (several people I follow on Twitter can’t be wrong) “Stickman” jumper.

The jumper was a competition winner’s design, hence a couple of elements markedly differing to what you’d see from the typical manufacturer-designed…designs.

Firstly, there’s the all-red back, which has never occurred in St Kilda’s history. Designers have typically steered well clear of using anything other than white to dominate a clash or alternative jumper, even with teams that don’t have white in their colours. St Kilda’s been no exception since the AFL really started standardising (well, to a point) their guidelines for clash jumpers, and that came around the time they told the club to find a design to supersede the very popular candy stripe jumper (which ended with the apron jumper disaster).

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Welcome back* (*It’s February)

2014 NAB Challenge, Round 1
Western Bulldogs 0.5.3, 0.5.3, 0.9.6, 0.1o.7 (67)
St Kilda 0.1.0, 1.3.4, 1.6.4, 1.7.5 (56)
Crowd: 2894 at Simonds Stadium, February 19th at 7.10pm

After months of watching teasing videos of pre-season training, Colorado highlights, more recently the full-team photo shoot and Richie and I ogling at Daniel Markworth’s and Luke Dunstan’s individual portrait shots respectively, footy was sort-of-but-not-really back for the Saints for 2014.

Naturally, this game against the Bulldogs was scheduled for a Wednesday night in Geelong, as the AFL continued its unabated march towards becoming a commendably transparent organisation with undisputed integrity. Seriously, it’s not like the city of Geelong is needing all the support it can get to grow the game as opposed to a regional centre, so the AFL made this game as idle as possible for two of the struggling Victorian clubs.

It was Richie and I’s debut in RWB‘s new Richmond HQ; Richie bringing the goods with a Foxtel subscription (all I had to offer at the Brunswick HQ was the live stream from [Deleted due to legal advice]). In our conversation about whether we should order pizza or not, Richie mentioned he was particularly keen on seeing new recruits Shane Savage, Billy Longer and Luke Dunstan. I wholeheartedly agreed, but thought that it might be just as interesting to see how quickly Savage got bored having come down from reigning premiers to 16th.

It looked like for a while there might not be a game due to an angry downpour (even Mother Nature was against the scheduling of this one) leaving the ground and the rooms flooded, but instead we were treated to a slightly shortened game in from of about 12 people starting half an hour later. As padding for the extended pre-match, Fox Footy decided to treat us all to the awfully depressing 2009 Preliminary Final victory against the Dogs. It was fitting they showed that in the week that the Hawks launched their book Playing to Win, about the journey from their Bushranger-style 2008 premiership to last year’s triumph, whilst we have replays of wins that are at best heartbreaking that leave us with our own book in The Bubble, about the journey from our 2009 heartbreak to the following’s season’s more ultimate, final heartbreak.

For the spectacle’s sake this is probably the only time I’d advocate playing a game at Etihad under the roof. As they say in the classics, “Hindsight’s usually pretty correct about stuff”, and also I take that back – I’d never prefer to play anything under the roof.

In a nutshell, I guess the theme here for the entire match is “novelty”. Novelty game – and the AFL have kept the novelty Super Goal to appease NAB – novelty jumper, novelty team line-ups with the key St Kilda highlights being novelty goals by the guy with the novelty name and novelty hair. Someone might need to confirm if we had the novelty of Billy Longer coming on as the sub and then being subbed out of the game?

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