'Lost your minds': Fans blast Blues' Origin jersey 'cash grab'

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Rugby league fans have blasted the NSW Blues for introducing an alternative jersey for the 2019 State of Origin game in Perth.

NSW Rugby League unveiled the navy-blue number on Thursday night to break the tradition of sky blue versus Queensland’s maroon.

The traditional chevron will be sky blue in what NSW coach Brad Fittler believes pays homage to the new venue.

“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.”

Tyson Frizell models the new navy-blue NSW Origin jersey. Pic: AAP
Tyson Frizell models the new navy-blue NSW Origin jersey. Pic: AAP

After the corporate speak concluded, footy fans had their say – and the response was almost universally negative.

Some concluded the jersey actually didn’t look that bad but was unnecessary, and perhaps made things worse given the Maroons, well, wear maroon.

Others even thought it was a desperate attempt for Origin to get in on the merchandise money available to NRL clubs, who are now wearing four or five different jerseys in a season.

Even rugby league great and Panthers supremo Phil Gould is against it:

The Perth match will be followed by a first-time appearance in Adelaide in 2020.

Fittler led the Blues to a triumphant 2-1 series win in his first series as coach, ending a four-year drought and a run of 11 series defeats in 12 years.

And the former NSW captain did so with a left-field approach, including 13 rookies, barefoot training runs, and game-day walks from the hotel to the venues.

While this year’s jersey was made with a skin-tight grip, the latest jumper includes a rear sleeve “to reduce resistance through lateral arm motion.”

It is also designed with “an external stretch tape at back neck for strength and durability.”

NSW will have to defend their crown when the series opens at Suncorp Stadium in June, before heading west to Optus Stadium in Perth.

“We fully support any move to grow rugby league’s showpiece event to even more fans,” Fittler said.

“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.”

with AAP

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