Written by Mike Carter, Hull KR Shirts.
After what turned out to be an excellent year on and off the field in 2021, the anticipation has started to build towards 2022, and the big question is, what’s next for Hull KR?
The first step on this journey is the reveal of the 2022 home shirt. It’s the 6th home shirt that has been manufactured by Oxen and is the first playing shirt to display our new club crest. A lot of work and effort went into the design of the crest, and you can learn more about that here.
On Thursday, 28th October, it was revealed that Connexin had joined Hull KR as a principal partner. The timing aligned with the reveal of the main front of shirt sponsor; however, the press release didn’t officially confirm this. But if there was any doubt, the official Connexin Instagram account cleared this up on Thursday evening when they posted a teaser for what we were led to believe was the 2022 Hull KR home shirt, which it was…
This was followed up on Friday morning with the first 7 seconds of the reveal video, as a currently unknown player made his way up a staircase of the old Lord Line building. Those who hadn’t seen the first teaser on Instagram would be forgiven for thinking this was going to be the reveal of a new signing. You can watch the teaser video here.
At lunchtime, we would receive the final tease and be told to check back at 6:00 pm. The image was darkened but purposely only enough so that we could work out it was new signing Lachlan Coote in a Hull KR shirt for the first time. This image revealed the shirt has a blue-collar and, within it, the new Robin icon. Understanding what I do about the icon and seeing the 2022 merch we have so far, I would expect this to be placed in this location on every match shirt for the foreseeable future.
As the afternoon passed by, my mind was racing to piece together all the clues. I’ve said it before, but days with shirt reveals are some of my favourite days of the year. I enjoy the anticipation of not knowing and having the emotional reaction a new shirt leaves me with. Finally, as 6:00 pm arrived, we saw the video in its entirety. It was the moment we’d all been waiting for, seeing Lachlan Coote as he promoted the new 2022 Hull KR home shirt. You can watch the full video here.
Firstly, let’s start with the shirt. For the second year in succession, it is predominantly an all red shirt. This means that 2022 will be the first year since 2014-15 that we’ve used a red home shirt in back-to-back campaigns. This is only the third time it has happened since the 1990s, along with 2001-02.
The shirt features a low blue band with two white bands on either side of it. Hull KR have used a blue band in many previous seasons, including most recently in 2018, and it is the 2018 home shirt my mind took me to straight away when I saw the 2022 offering. Yes, the band is much lower and also complete, opposed to the paint-splattered look of 2018; however, it’s clear to see some inspiration has been taken from it. It could be the style of the shirt also as the 2018 home shirt was released under the Elite Pro Sports umbrella. Having the band lower on the shirt allows for the band to continue all the way around without causing any conflict with potential names and numbers being applied to replica shirts. The lower band also allows for the Hirebase logo to sit very nicely within it. The shirt looks really smart from the back, especially when a name and number are applied.
One thing which I believe Hull KR and other Rugby League clubs need to do better is to promote their players from within and encourage supporters to personalise their shirts with the name and number of their favourite player. Sky Sports have done a great job promoting the players of the game by using nicknames such as ‘The Big Red Machine’ for Kane Linnett, and I feel it’s time clubs did more follow-up on this. There is revenue that can be brought into retail by applying the name and number of a supporter’s favourite player to a shirt, especially if it’s a new, big name signing. Did someone say Lachlan Coote..?
This could also be applied to competition patches. For the reveal, the Club has heat applied Betfred Super League patches to the shirt — another addition that some supporters would like to have applied to their shirts. Easy Buy and RSV’s sponsorship placement makes it a tight fit as the patch overlaps into the blue band, but it fits and looks fine. This will vary on shirt size though.
The collar and cuff detailing are also blue and complement the band well by finishing the shirt off with a contrasting trim colour. The blue trim of the sleeve is very reminiscent of that on the 2006 home shirt. The 2006 home shirt has two trims, opposed to just the one here, but it is nice to see old features of shirts make it into modern-day designs.
Because of how low the images of Coote are shot it is difficult to get a true idea of how the low band looks when it is being worn. The retail images give off a better view of the shirt, which is disappointing when the Club have gone to the effort to arrange Coote for the photoshoot during the off season.
Once again, I feel the sponsors have been integrated within the shirt thoughtfully. They’re predominantly white and set against the red and blue very well. The branding for Connexin feels larger than previous main shirt sponsors, but again, I’m okay with that due to the way it fits within the shirt seamlessly. Harrison Solway has continued their support of the Robins by taking up the spot on the upper rear of the shirt after being the main sponsor of the 2020/21 Mind charity shirt. IRS continues in the old collar sponsor position, and FTP returns to the chest position they held in 2018 and 2019 after spending 2021 on the upper rear of the shirt.
Along with all the 2022 merchandise I have seen, 140 years is sewn into the seam. This is a lovely tribute to 2022 and everything else that has passed since 1882 when Hull KR were formed as Kingston Amateurs.
As an initial reaction, I like the shirt that we’ll be wearing at Craven Park in 2022, opinions can change over time either way, and that is okay. When I cast my mind back to 12 months ago, I didn’t instantly like the 2021 home shirt. After I reviewed it (read here) I had to revisit and add to it once images of the player specification shirt had been released because they swayed my opinion. As the season progressed, I changed to love it and will miss seeing the teams wearing it.
When you look at Coote, he is wearing, in my opinion, a shirt that is too big for him. It’s also a replica fit and not a player specification shirt that we’re used to seeing Lachlan wear at St Helens. Taking it down a size for the photo shoot would have been preferable, as I think some people are focusing too much on the details of the images more than they are on the shirt’s design. Due to logistical and timing issues, it isn’t always possible for clubs to launch with player specification shirts, but when they do, they look so much better, as that’s what we’re used to seeing them wear. It is also worth noting this has been revealed as a shirt and not as a kit. We know the shorts will be red but when worn together by a player it can give off a different opinion.
I feel this shirt is a good move for 2022. There are clear steps in a positive direction by moving the Club forward on and off the field. As a member of the Hull KR Heritage Committee, it’s vitally important to me that as a Club, we don’t forget about our past even though we are looking to our future, and this shirt ticks most of the boxes.
When designers are creating a shirt, they have one of the largest demographics to consider. This shirt will be worn by people aged under 4 to over 80, so not everyone will like it. But let’s face it, when SKD is wearing it at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in May lifting the Challenge Cup, I’m not sure any of us will mind what shirt he’s wearing.
Come on you, Reds!
What do you think? Let me know your thoughts on Twitter or Facebook.
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