Aussie Rules breaking with more than 100 years of tradition.
THE AFL is about to break with more than 100 years of tradition by allowing players to have their names on the back of guernseys.
The league will trial having names on team uniforms between Rounds 3-6 this season.
The push for better identification of players has been led by expansion clubs Greater Western Sydney and Gold Coast, with strong support from North Melbourne.
Former Giants coach Kevin Sheedy has been an advocate of the move for a number of years.
“It’s called common sense,” Sheedy said. “There’s a market here and on the Gold Coast where we need to promote our talent.”
The merchandising potential of having your favourite player’s name on your back has generated billions of dollars in sales around the world.
Football, basketball, the NFL and the NHL all have players’ names on their uniforms.
AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou has been a supporter of the innovation.
Fortunately for the AFL the proposal comes well after Robert DiPierdomenico has finished playing, but Swans utility Lewis Roberts-Thomson is set to provide a headache for manufacturers.
The use of numbers on the back of guernseys was introduced during the VFL finals in 1911.
The semi-final that year between Carlton and Essendon was the first game in which both teams wore numbers on the back of their guernseys.