Australian football shows its fibre

24 March 2015

With the start of the 2015 Australian Football League (AFL) season next month comes the historic development that all clubs in the competition will be selling Australian wool products for the first time in decades.

100 per cent Australian Merino wool retro football jumpers, scarves, gloves and beanies will be available as part of the supporter apparel offering at club stores as well as from April, branded under The Woolmark Company’s Fibre of Football campaign.

Also available will be knit kits in club colours for child and adult beanies and scarves. The kits contain balls of 100% Australian wool 14ply yarn, 7mm knitting needles, wool needle, instruction leaflet, AFL fabric badge and club fabric badge. Club knit wool blend jumpers will also be available.

Fibre of Football advocate Nat Fyfe (top) of the Fremantle Dockers has always enjoyed helping out with his family’s transport business: “Sheep is probably our favourite [to transport] because it is so hands on and interactive with the animals"; Fibre of Football advocate Tom Hawkins (above) of the Geelong Cats is from a wool, cropping and rice property at Finley, NSW: “I love coming back [to the family farm]; it’s a great release from playing football.”

The re-entry of wool into AFL merchandise comes after 18 months of work by The Woolmark Company alongside AFL merchandise licensee PlayCorp, together with testing and trials with Australian manufacturers such as Lyon Sportswear and Australian Country Spinners.

General Manager of PlayCorp Apparel, Dean Grimster, said the initiative to create the retro jumpers  from Australian Merino wool had gained a great deal of traction from across both the wool industry and the footballing community.

“Everyone we speak to is so excited about the opportunity to wear a woollen football jumper again. I take enormous pride in the fact that we’re actually doing this,” Mr Grimster said.

“To make a football jumper in Australia, in Melbourne, out of Australian wool really closes the loop on the whole program.”

To have wool recognised as the fibre of Australian football is only fitting given the strong social and economic ties the wool industry has had with the game from its very inception in the mid-19th century in country Victoria.

The Fibre of Football campaign will take many forms and provide various opportunities throughout 2015 such as meeting our advocates and game-day opportunities.