WEST Perth will follow the likes of AFL-club Hawthorn and the NBA when it replaces its sleeveless uniform with a one-off sports shirt for the WAFL club’s International Round clash against Subiaco.
The Falcons chose a British theme for their annual commemorative guernsey, with the design resembling a rugby or soccer strip in heed to the district’s thousands of UK-born migrants.
The British approach harks back to the club’s first experimental jumper in 2012, which featured a prominent Union Jack.
The jumpers of the past two years focused on a global look with international flags the main point of attention.
Falcons president Brett Raponi explained the reasoning behind this year’s design.
“Our club’s location places us under the constant threat from soccer for the young boys and girls that we are trying to attract to our game,” he said. “The jumper is the Falcons’ and indeed Aussies Rules’ way of further engaging with our community.”
Local primary school students Evie House and Lucas Denning inspired the look with their winning entries from the club’s “design a jumper” competition.
West Perth coach Bill Monaghan described the design as “interesting”.
“What’s important is that it came about by a competition we ran in schools,” he said.
“There’s a lot of sports played across the world and a lot from the area we’re trying to promote – the English, European and African nations. Rugby, soccer… they’re all played with sleeves so it’s not a huge thing, it’s just something that’s going to add to the attraction.”
While short sleeves on a football field are a rarity, Hawthorn experimented with the approach in the 2000 AFL pre-season competition.
The players became too hot in the final game of the tournament and switched back to traditional guernseys after half-time.
In early 2013, NBA champions the Golden State Warriors were the league’s first team to wear sleeved jerseys.
Later that year, teams playing on Christmas Day followed suit as part of the NBA’s annual Christmas design.
The “shirseys” were not popular with many players, including superstar LeBron James who was heard to say “I can’t shoot with these” as he made his way to the locker room while playing for the Miami Heat.