Green is usually associated with Kermit the Frog, a certain Spider-Man villain, leprechauns and money. It’s also been the dominant colour of the Canberra Raiders.
The Raiders have been wearing green since 1982, along with blue and yellow stripes (the official colours of the ACT). For those wondering, Canberran Patricia Taylor devised the lime green jersey, with four blue, yellow and white armbands. The green represented Hall Rugby League Club, the first in the ACT.
Unlike the iconic lime green, the Raiders logo was stolen from the Oakland Raiders, after original coach Don Furner spent time with the NFL team. Canberra’s logo resembled a stern viking rather than Oakland’s one-eyed pirate.
Canberra’s original jersey lasted from 1982-1996, through the club’s triple premiership era. There were some minor variations (like the collar alternating from white to blue), but the basic design remained. The lime green was also used for a tie-in with major sponsor Canberra Milk.
When Canberra joined Super League in 1997, a new jersey came with it. Due to the incredible lack of imagination, Canberra and Brisbane had the exact same jersey design. Predominately white, the Raiders Super League jersey had a green back with green spikey shoulder thingies, a blue collar and three blue arrows. The Raiders wore this strange jersey in the 1998 and ’99 NRL seasons before a much-needed makeover. While Brisbane have brought back their old Super League jersey, the Raiders have left theirs in the closet. Considering Super League was the last time Canberra got close to a grand final, maybe they should bring it back.
A new millennium meant a new look for Canberra, and it was quite dramatic. First was the logo update; gone was the old grey viking in the green and yellow circles, replaced by another viking with a striking lime-and-dark-green beard. While the basic design was similar, the multi-coloured beard made it stand out. Canberra’s new jersey was a departure from tradition, the green was much darker, accompanied by fluro yellow and black. The away jersey was a simple reversal, with white replacing dark green. While the addition of black was a surprise, it was still relatively faithful to the club’s colours.
The Raiders rebooted their jersey in 2003, with lime green and the traditional stripes returning. The stripes were much more prominent, draped across the shoulders and down the sides. The new (old) look signalled a much-needed return to form, with the Raiders finishing fourth but losing to Melbourne and the NZ Warriors in the finals.
Canberra celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2006 and went back to the original design. Yes, the green was darker, and the sleeve sponsors obscured the traditional white, blue and yellow stripes, but it was still a good jersey. The jersey gradually morphed to the heritage lime green, which they kept until 2012.
Canberra’s 2012 jersey was controversial. Going back to the darker green, the blue, yellow and white V stripes were too similar to the Sydney Roosters jersey. Again the away jersey was a simple green-to-white reversal.
Canberra’s current jersey returned the lime green and the traditional armbands, located on the shoulders, unimpeded from the sleeve sponsor. We’ll conveniently forget the horrible yellow away jersey for now.
Canberra have had plenty of alternate jerseys as well; ANZAC, Women In League, Auckland Nines, Indigenous, Heritage and a special centenary of Canberra blue and yellow jersey. The Raiders were also a part of the Marvel Super Heroes promotion, wearing a Hulk jersey in 2014 and 2015, which includes a torn chest revealing green Hulk abs. While a good initiative, Canberra have lost both Hulk games. It’s likely to continue, so the hoodoo can be broken.
In 33 years, Canberra have stuck to the basic lime green with the blue and yellow stripes. Kermit would be proud.