Written by Michael Carter, Hull KR Shirts.
As the end of the decade approaches, I thought I’d take a look through the match shirts which we’ve worn over the last 10 years and pick my top 5, giving reasons why each have been chosen.
Hull KR have worn 26 different shirts in the 2010’s so there is plenty for me to choose from. Those shirts have been manufactured for Rovers by 4 different companies which are Kooga, Burrda Sport, Fi-Ta and X-Blades. The 26 consist of 10 home, 10 away and 6 charity/third shirts. 2014 was the first season during the current decade which we jumped up to three shirts, and it’s been that way ever since.
I will consider all of the homes, aways and charity/thirds shirts to get an overall top 5. The 5 shirts will appear in descending order with number 1 being my favourite Hull KR shirt from the past 10 years.
The joy of something like this is that it’s all opinion based and there is no wrong answer as it’s purely down to personal perspective.
5 – Home Shirt – 2012 – Burrda Sport
Let’s get the ball rolling with this debut effort from Burrda Sport. Born and raised from the sands of Qatar, they set their sights on a venture with Hull Kingston Rovers in 2012. Burrda who had partners such as Wolverhampton Wanderers and the Belgian national side in Football (at the time) dipped their toe into the world of Rugby League with Hull KR.
Rovers returned to a traditional white shirt with a red band for the first time this decade after unique designs in 2010 and 2011 paved the way to the return of this famous Hull KR design. The red piping on the chest of the shirt was used to represent the Burrda Sport logo, flowing in the same manner as their arrowed banner. I don’t mind this as it’s a subtle nod to the manufacturer, one that you may not have even realised.
The thick red band through the middle carried the sponsor of Hirebase, a southern company dealing with the rental of large plant and tool equipment. Hirebase has been a partner of Hull KR for the majority of the decade and has featured their branding on multiple shirts in multiple positions. The colourway of their branding sits in very well with the shirt which always helps the aesthetics.
The replica and match spec shirts are very different. The match spec version has reinforced stitching around the neck, which gives it a really nice tidy finish.
It also has a grip tape around the bottom of the shirt to make it harder to remove, which has Burrda branding on. This was also absent on the replica, thankfully!
A very simplistic shirt but it’s one that ticks all the boxes for me. It screams out everything a Hull KR home shirt should scream out, to be truly recognised as a Rovers jersey.
4 – Military Shirt – 2014 – Fi-Ta
It’s become a modern-day tradition for a Rugby League club to have a third (or in some clubs cases a fourth) shirt. In 2014 Australian sports company Fi-Ta began a three-year journey with The Robins and in their debut season produced this absolute blinder of a shirt. A one-off shirt, which was worn in a 26-22 defeat to Huddersfield Giants at Craven Park on Thursday 26th June 2014.
Featuring a Union Jack doused in red and white the shirt was produced to support Armed Forces Day (28th June 2014) and raise funds for the Yorkshire Regiment Benevolent Trust (YRBT) and was referred to by the club as the military shirt. The shirt was only available through pre-order and £5 from each shirt sold was donated to the YRBT.
The logo of the YRBT features high up on the left sleeve in a lovely touch to the charity who support those who are serving (or have served) and their families in times of need.
The shirt itself is a pure red shirt with a hint of camouflage. This is something which has become synonymous with Hull KR over the past few years featuring heavily on the 2019 training wear.
The shirt is my favourite in the charity section based on its design and meaning. The way the Union Jack has been incorporated into club colours is something which I think is great. I didn’t pick one of these up at the time of release but I have one now after a few years of searching. I’m also lucky enough to have a couple of match spec versions in my collection too, those of Ade Garder and Graeme Horne.
3 – Away Shirt – 2019 – X-Blades
The most recent shirt in my top 5 is this away shirt from 2019. The thought and execution behind this shirt are fantastic. A throwback to the away shirts from the late 1970s and the early 1980s worn in high profile games such as the victory in the BBC Floodlit Final against St Helens in 1977.
Unfortunately, the successes from the heyday couldn’t be replicated in this shirt by the 2019 team as we recorded just the one victory, which was against Salford Red Devils in the Coral Challenge Cup. We wore this shirt on nine occasions coming off on the losing side in eight of those giving the shirt the tag of being unlucky.
A lot of supporters opinions will be swayed negatively by the lack of success we achieved in this shirt but for me, that doesn’t take away from the beauty of it.
We have seen a lot of throwbacks across sports shirts in 2019 and they will never replace the originals but they do give supporters the chance to own something they may not necessarily have the chance to. I am a collector of old shirts and I have yet to find a shirt from the late 70s or early 80s, so it shows how hard they are to locate.
The club crest is applied in the same blue as the shirt and all sponsors are printed in white. This shirt is only one of two to not carry the current colourway club crest in the past decade and seemingly started the trend for the home and away shirts for 2020 to carry shirt coloured club crests.
Having the sponsors, neckline and cuffs in white contrasts the blue and works really well against it to give a very sleek look. This shirt is the only away shirt in my top 5 which tells you how much I think of this shirt.
2 – Home Shirt – 2015 – Fi-Ta
In second place we have the 2015 home shirt by Fi-Ta which was the only shirt to have a one-off design made carrying game detail. Match information from the Challenge Cup Final against Leeds Rhinos featured around the club crest for the August Wembley showpiece and can be seen in the photo above. The Robins’ fell to a ruthless Rhinos’ side in the final which saw Leeds win 50-0.
Rovers wore the standard version of this shirt in the semi-final victory over Warrington Wolves at Headingley, a day which will live long in the memory of every fan in attendance. Hull KR ran out 26-18 victors against Wire where Ken Sio scored the best try I’ve ever witnessed live.
The shirt has a base colour of red with a blue band around the middle. A design used during the mid-80s in a Premiership win as well as during our first season in the Super League in 2007. On the replica version, the band continues around the back shirt but the match spec version has a break a ‘block’ on the reverse for a players name and squad number. This is so that they can be seen easier by the referee during a game.
Once again sponsorship has been incorporated in a colourway that suits the shirt and fits in very nicely. It’s a very simple feature but one that I would imagine could be very hard to negotiate with a sponsor.
1 – Home Shirt – 2017 – X-Blades
The only year we spent outside the Super League during the last decade was graced with in my opinion the nicest shirt of the past 10 years. In 2017 we signed an agreement with X-Blades/Elite Pro Sports (which still stands in 2020) and what they gave us to grace the hallowed turf of Craven Park in 2017 did not disappoint.
A traditional white shirt with a red band is the core of the shirt, but one piece of added detail is what set this above the other red and white home shirts for me. The side panel under the arm is red and within this panel, you’ll find small white crowns on both sides taken from the club crest. This is a really nice touch to the heritage of the City of Hull.
Another local touch was the University of Hull branding as the main shirt sponsor. We’ve had some awful shirt sponsors, both in terms of looks and stature but this is one which was always deemed to be liked in both categories. It’s nice to see the club have a connection with the local educational system in Hull having seen multiple feature on club merchandise in the past few years as well as working/educational partnerships.
The replica version of this shirt carried a number 6 on the reverse in a fitting tribute to club and rugby league legend Roger Millward. The shirt also carried the famous quote “Never forget the people who love you – the supporters” below the number on each shirt to remind the club the supporters were there when they needed them the most.
There you have it my top 5 shirts from the 2010’s. What makes this really interesting is the choice on show should give lots of different outcomes so let me know across any of my social media channels what your top 5 shirts would be. You can take a look through the Shirt History page for inspiration where you will find photographs of the 26 shirt worn this decade. Ace eh!
I hope you enjoyed reading. If you can think of anything you think I should cover then get in touch and I will see what I can do.