What’s in a football jumper?
The bellowing voice of a coach who attempts to inspire his players to ‘play for the jumper’ leans on the very tradition and fabric of his football club.
The yellow and black or red and white or black and white for example is in the veins of players at club level.
Many have grown up and developed an unwavering passion for the jumper they wear.
So what colours are the Great Southern Football League? At the moment it is navy blue, white and a bit of red going by the current jumper. Before it was predominantly navy blue and according to the traditionalists, the GSFL will always be royal blue and black.
The league has gone through three eras of football jumpers in its 27-year history.
The GSFL, which formed in 1991 after a Southern Districts Football League merged with the Central Great Southern Football League, started with an East Perth style jumper.
It was this era the GSFL split their seasons competing in A-section and B-section.
The last season the GSFL wore the East Perth style strip was in 2006, when one of the more remarkable individual performances was witnessed as Tim Farmer booted 10 goals in the B-section final win.
Farmer was a colossus throughout the carnival and could be heard in their final qualifying game at three quarter time to “kick it to me boys, I’m on fire”.
They did and the GSFL qualified for the final on the back of Farmer’s match-winning six goal haul.
The premiership players kept the woollen East Perth jumpers and moved into a new era of the navy blues with the letters GSFL across the front.
It was this period where not only uncertainty developed around the long-term viability of the local competition but also the GSFL’s place at the annual championships.
Relegation was avoided in horrible wet conditions only to slump to division 3 in 2012.
With the bottoming out of the representative side came change and a resurgence in player enthusiasm, which led to the division 3 grand final win in 2014.
The navy blues were replaced in 2015 by the current day design which is just too hard to describe.
The GSFL’s future at the championships was thrown into doubt again last season after a winless campaign which ended with a 90-point flogging by Goldfields in a game of two 20-minute halves.
At the time GSFL president Joe Burton said “we have to get that passion back”.
So here we are again, renewed enthusiasm, a greater buy in from the players, a new coach and hope of a resurgence back to division 2.
Bringing a team together in a short space of time, can be hard to achieve.
But what you can lean on is the tradition and identity created from the past and handed down by the players.
When you change your jumper, you lose a part of your identity as a football team.
Criticism previously of the league’s players not committing to the cause has been unfair. What have they been playing for?
GSFL at the Landmark Country Football Championships
Division 1 titles
Division 2 titles
Division 3 titles
A-section colts titles
B-section colts wins
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