The Fibre of Football

18 September 2014

Australian shearers, woolgrowers, agents and studmasters are uniting to celebrate the connection between the wool industry and Australian Football through The Woolmark Company’s Fibre of Football campaign.

Nat Fyfe of the Freemantle Dockers and Tom Hawkins of the Geelong Cats
Nat Fyfe of the Freemantle Dockers and Tom Hawkins of the Geelong Cats have joined The Woolmark Company’s 'Fibre of Football' campaign to help promote the wool industry through football.

The idea for Australian football was sparked on a sheep station in the 1850s when the son of a pastoralist was thinking of how cricketers could stay fit over the winter.

From Tom Wills' idea grew a game now enjoyed by millions across Australia, and the fibre and Australian rules football have been knitted together ever since.

Australian football is still played where wool is grown. The local football team is still the centre of many wool-growing communities with signs from agents, contractors, studs, transport companies and merchandise outlets seen around the ground.

To celebrate this deep connection an introductory video ‘Australian Wool – The Fibre of Football’ has been produced.

The Coleraine Football Club
The Coleraine Football Club in western Victoria is the first country footy club in Australia to wear the wool blend ‘MerinoPerform’ tops. The club trialled them for a few months and then ordered 70 of them.

Two of the very best AFL players have joined The Woolmark Company 's Fibre of Football campaign, celebrating the strong connection linking the wool industry and Australian Rules football.

From Lake Grace in WA, Nat Fyfe's family run a transport business carting wool, livestock and grain. A trained shearer, road train driver and soon-to-be helicopter pilot Nat is better known as the Fremantle Dockers superstar and winner of the 2014 AFL Players Association Most Valuable Player award.

From a wool, cropping and rice property at Finley, NSW, Tom Hawkins is keen to return to the country one day but for now he is the focal point of a very successful era at the Geelong Football Club. A vital part of the 2009 and 2011 premiership teams, Tom has become a champion of the game and follows in the footsteps of his father "Jumping Jack" Hawkins who also played for Geelong.

"I am very proud to have grown up on a farm that produces wool and my fondest memories from my childhood are working with my father on the farm and playing junior football for my local Finley Football Club. So I feel very privileged to be involved in the Fibre of Football campaign that supports two of the industries that I am extremely passionate about."

Both Nat Fyfe and Tom Hawkins joined the Fibre of Football because they wish to promote the importance of farming and woolgrowing to the Australian community. Both are keen to support country football given it is at the heart of many communities. Naturally The Woolmark Company is delighted to be working with such outstanding men.

Throughout 2015 a series of events across the country will take place as part of the Fibre of Football campaign with the opportunity to meet Nat Fyfe or Tom Hawkins.

This football season, Lyon Sportswear and The Woolmark Company have piloted a wool blend playing top with the Coleraine Football Club in western Victoria. The 50:50 wool polyester blend tops have been well received by players as they wick away moisture while keeping the players warm. The double layered jersey knit tops can be produced for modern day sublimation printing common in the production of modern team sportswear.

Meanwhile, The Woolmark Company has worked with a current AFL licensee to put the fibre back into supporter gear with 100 per cent Merino wool jumpers available from next year. Every club will be selling the soft 21 micron jumpers in a heritage design and colours; no away strip, no clash strip. The jumpers will keep you warm at the footy or on the farm. Alongside these jumpers will be fine wool scarves, beanies and gloves all made of Australian wool and made in Australia.