In 2003, the AFL held it's first annual heritage round back in round 19. This gave all the football clubs an opportunity to run out on the park in an revamped design of an old-fashioned guernsey from previous generations.
I can't speak for everyone, but I absolutely loved it. From 2003-2007, I was always interested in seeing what sort of guernsey each club would pull out every year, and although it disappointingly finished up in 2007, we've still seen clubs wear throwbacks to commemorate the anniversaries of past successes, Most recently we saw North Melbourne's jumper when they played Hawthorn back in round 13 this year, where the Kangaroos ran out in a guernsey to celebrate their 1996 premiership which was 20 years ago.
With the Fox Footy celebrating 'Retro Round' this weekend, I thought it would be a good idea to write about my favourite heritage jumper from each club, and to make it a little bit interesting. How good would it be to see the heritage round come back and merge with another round that the AFL used to promote, calling the round 'Rivalry Round'.
Seeing old and bitter rivals decked out in some throwback guernseys might just put some bums in seats, and no doubt there will be sparks flying in certain games, which I think is fantastic for football. Mr. McLachlan, I hope you read this and this inspires you to release a fixture with this sort of format. It may just work in getting more money in the AFL.
The Showdown (Adelaide vs Port Adelaide)
For me, my favourite heritage jumper to come out of the Adelaide Football club is the heritage jumper they decided to run out in their 2005 clash with ironically against Port Adelaide. Their jumper was an adaption of the 1930 state jumper, which not surprisingly didn't sit well with the locals from Port Adelaide, bur for me it was something different from the usual Adelaide hoops.
When I think of the term 'Heritage' and Port Adelaide in the same sentence, I immediately think of the controversial 'Prison Bar' strip that they have brought out time and time again. I like it, but it's not my favourite that's come from Port Adelaide. That honour goes to the 2004 heritage strip, which was based on the original Port Adelaide jumper, it's a completely different colour scheme to today and to top it all off, it has the list of all of Port's SANFL premierships down the stripes on either end of the jumper.
Honourable mention to the guernsey that Port wore in their round one win this year over the Saints, that guernsey commemorated 20 years since they played their first AFL game.
The Derby (Fremantle vs West Coast)
Throughout most of the heritage rounds, Fremantle have often gone with the white with red chevrons, which was based on the original Fremantle Football Club before they played in the AFL. That design became Freo's regular jumper, just swapping the red for the purple, but I would love to see the old anchor that was on the front with the red and green panels on the top half of the jumper and the purple on the bottom half return for one night only. Some may disagree on this one, but I was quite a fan of it.
Look no further than the jumper they used when they entered the compeitition in 1987. This jumper was used by the Eagles in the heritage rounds of 2004 and 2005. The colours were reversed over a year later in 1988 and lasted until 1994, which at that time, saw the Eagles win their second flag in three seasons.
Q-Clash (Brisbane Lions vs Gold Coast)
Brisbane have the luxury of having plenty of heritage jumpers because of the merger between the Brisbane Bears and Fitzroy. Fitzroy's red and blue jumper has been a historic jumper over the years, whilst Brisbane's cerise with the gold 'V' is one that stands out for me. The Bears went from their inaugural jumper to this one in 1992 until the merger, but was used for Brisbane in 2004 for heritage round. Either one would be a good choice for me.
Gold Coast is a hard one, because they have only been alive for under a decade. The only logical one would be the jumper they used when they played their first game in the AFL. It's nothing special and hasn't changed much,, but hopefully in years to come the designs will change dramatically.
The Battle Of The Bridge (Greater Western Sydney vs Sydney Swans)
Despite being in the league a year less than the Gold Coast, figuring out GWS' heritage jumper was easy. As they had a completely different jumper in 2010 when they were entered in Victoria's under-18 competition the TAC Cup. This predominantly blue outfit was before they decided to call themselves the Giants
Another easy choice, perhaps one of the easiest choices of them all, as my favourite heritage jumper from Sydney is the old South Melbourne strip that they used from 1932 until they moved to Sydney in 1987. That red V has been significant in the club's history and no other guernsey came close.
Carlton vs Collingwood
Carlton's one is pretty straight-forward, as they went back to using the old monogram on their guernsey that they used from 1927-1976 just last season. The other possible option was using Carlton's 2003-04 heritage jumper which featured an ugly sort of yellow on the top half of their guernsey, but just for the sake of changing the guernsey we'll go with it. It's a fusion of their 1897 guernsey with the logo they used on their guernsey in 1910.
Collingwood's jumpers throughout their history have mostly been black with white stripes, or white with black stripes. To make things a little easier on us here at Bulldogs Centre we went with the one that looked the most different, which was Collingwood's 2003 heritage guernsey, which was mostly white with thin black stripes.
Essendon vs North Melbourne
Much like Collingwood, Essendon have had the red sash for pretty much their entire tenure, so we'll just go with their 2003 heritage strip, which the Bombers used from 1897 to 1974. It was a very thin strip that was made wider in 1975 for colour TV.
North's jumper when they joined the competition in 1925 was mostly royal blue, with a white 'V', they had the jumper for eight seasons, before they ditched it for the blue and white stripes, which remain at the club to this very day. They used that guernsey in 2003 for the heritage round and it's one that I think shows North's heritage quite clearly.
A special mention to their 'Orange' guernsey that they used in a game against Collingwood in 2000. Some say it's one of the worst guernseys ever designed, but I think it looked good, but I would've preferred the blue and white over it.
Geelong vs Hawthorn
Geelong's heritage guernsey in 2003 is probably the pick of the bunch as most of Geelong's guernseys are just blue hoops in different sizes. This guernsey was based off of Geelong's centenary game in 1996, which was a combination of their first guernsey with the thin hoops and their second one with the rounded neck.
Hawthorn's brown with the gold 'V' was the first guernsey that they wore in the VFL when they entered in 1925. This was used in 2003 and 2004 for the heritage round and also featured a monogram on the right just under the gold 'V'.
Special mention goes out to the heritage jumper that the Hawks used in 2005, which was based on Hawthorn's 1902 jumper, the year the Hawthorn football club was born. The colours were red, white and blue and could've easily have been mistaken for the Western Bulldogs if you didn't know any better.
Melbourne Vs Richmond
For years Melbourne have always been the navy blue with red yolk, but from 1975-1986, the Dees made the blue on their guernsey brighter with the introduction of colour TV. Although they brought back the navy blue, Melbourne brought the jumper back in 2006 and 2007 for heritage round and has been one of my favourite heritage guernseys coming out of Demonland.
St. Kilda Vs Western Bulldogs
When I saw the jumper that the Saints rolled out in for their captain Nick Riewoldt's 300th game earlier this year, I was hit with a wave of nostalgia that puts you in a mode to reminisce about those days. They used that jumper in 1997 initially as a pre-season guernsey but later on used it as a home and away guernsey until the end of 2002.
The Bulldogs' current guernsey is based from their only flag winning year in 1954. It's makes for a good heritage guernsey, but since it's already being used, we'll look to their jumper from 1975-1996 which had the red horizontal stripe in the middle, with the white outlines on either side of that stripe. The Doggies used this guernsey in 2006 and 2007 to celebrate heritage round.