Every Warriors jersey ever, ranked

By James Dann of the Spinoff

James Dann scales his personal Everest, power ranking all 45 Warriors jerseys from transcendent best to horrible worst.
Ben Matulino sporting a special Eden Park 'home' jersey.
Ben Matulino sporting a special Eden Park 'home' jersey.

Since 1995, the Warriors have been known for their unpredictability, their thrilling highs and depressingly common lows. The same mercurial nature has applied to their many uniforms.

Through the dark times, the Warriors faithful have kept believing. They've also kept buying, and so the Warriors have kept releasing. In 2013, there were seven playing strips, which would have set the committed fan back around $1300.

A few ground rules before we start - I am only including strips that the Warriors first-team have played a regular season or post-season game in. This excludes the under-20's, NSW Cup, and any training jerseys. If there is little real variation between years, except for small changes to logo, I've grouped these shirts together. If I've missed any jerseys, then do get in touch. I've searched high and low for information, and am grateful for the nzwarriors.com forums, for detailed information on the different variations, as well as pictures of some of the more obscure shirts.

1. 1995-96 Home

It's hard to start anywhere else except the beginning. This is the iconic Warriors top worn at Mt Smart for their first match against the Broncos in 1995. It must have surely been a coincidence the colours matched so well with their main sponsor, DB Bitter.

It had a lot in common with the great league shirts Canberra, Penrith, Manly and the gang wore in the 1980s and '90s. Wear one of these to a game and you'll have a ton of friends before the first whistle has blown. A reflection of its iconic status, this strip has been re-made three times, for the 10th, 15th and 20th anniversaries of the club.

2. 2001-2002 Home

After a tumultuous period at the end of the 90s on and off the field, the Warriors re-emerged, now fighting for all New Zealand, not just Auckland. They brought this magnificent new strip, which they wore all the way to the 2002 grand final. Clearly aping the black of their more successful brothers in the XV-man code, it also integrated colours from the Auckland Warriors period in a semi-traditional rugby league V. Was the main influence for both the 2013 and 2016 heritage shirts.

3. 2013 Wellington

When it came to shirts, 2013 was a great year. This jersey was released for the game against the Bulldogs at the Cake Tin and is a nod to the Wellington league team the Orcas, with detailing that looks to the past. It's also better than any jersey the Hurricanes have ever worn.

4. 2012-2014 Home

A very strong, simple shirt. Again, it doesn't hurt that the red and white fit nicely with the branding of the main sponsor.

5. 2015 Nines "Tangaroa"

The introduction of the Nines in 2014 was a great chance to make a new shirt. While there have been a number of absolute dogs seen at Eden Park, this is one of the best. Based on the Paua shell, with blues that reference both the host city and the club's heritage, it is one of the only shirts that competently uses Maori designs.

6. 2013 Heritage "Kete"

Looking back to the 2002 shirt, this is the Warriors' best heritage effort to date. Not a strict homage, the blue, white and red detailing around the neck is placed onto a textured grey body, woven like a flax kete.

7. 2010 15th Anniversary

The second re-hash of the original 1995 jersey. Very simple lines bring out the best of the striking colours.

8. 1995 Away

The 1995 home shirt, with the blue and white inverted. The club have had a number of white away strips over the years, but this is the only one that really says "Warriors".

9. 2016 Heritage

The second attempt to recreate the 2002 jersey, although this is more traditional than 2013's Kete. Strong lines, bold colours, but suffers from being an almost too-faithful replica of the original. This season's strongest jersey, thus far.

10. 2003-2005 Home

On the one hand, it's quite a plain shirt: simple black and grey. However, once you've seen what some of the designers tried to do with colour, you'll be wishing for simple black and grey.

11. 2013 Women in League

The NRL introduced the Women in League round in 2012 when, to make up for the appalling record some league players have with women, they made them wear pink shirts. Because if there's one thing we know about women, it's that they love pink. You know what else they love? Flowers. This shirt combines both. Aside from the tone-deaf semiotics, this is easily the best of the Warriors' Women in League shirts. The body of the shirt has the subtle kete weaving pattern from the 2013 heritage jersey, and the green of the NRL badge really pops with the pink.

12. 2012 Heritage "Pounamu"

One of the first experiments with complex, patterned fabric that actually kind of works. The colour itself is nice and the detailing, while complex, looks decent whether you're watching from the sideline or the top of the East Stand.

13. 2006-2008 Away

Another pretty simple grey strip with two black hoops, a variation Puma were pretty fond of.

14. 2007 Auckland Strip

Released in 2007 for a one-off game in which the Warriors commemorated the 1977 Auckland league team, who beat Australia, Great Britain and France in the space of 20 days at Carlaw Park.

15. 2000 Away

The Warriors played away in red in 2000. I don't know why. The collar detailing looks like Puma had pioneered the page-turning animation on an iPad at least 10 years before Apple.

16. 2003-2005 Away

Most of the Puma jerseys stripped things back to basics. The grey was a good choice for an away colour, in retrospect.

17. 10th Anniversary

The first shirt to look back to the club's history, Puma's one attempt at the iconic '95 shirt is pretty good.

18. 2003 Special / 19. 2005 Special

I suspect someone at Puma in the mid-00s had too many black hoops and chose to get rid of them by releasing them on special edition Warriors jerseys.

20. 2012-2014 Away

A white away jersey with just enough colour in the detailing to keep it interesting. This is still interesting, right?

21. 2014 Women in League

Women! Flowers! Pink stuff! Swirls!

22. 2011 Heritage

Apparently, on witnessing the Warriors' beat the Tigers on their way to the 2011 grand final, a young John Key was heard to express disgust at the uniform they were wearing. When someone explained it was the New Zealand flag, he spat out his Pinot Noir and vowed to wipe both the flag and Warriors off the face of the map.

23. 2015 - 2016 Home

If you combine this with the previous jersey, you've pretty much got the Lockwood flag. And as any Red Peak fan would tell you, that is a design no-no. (Incidentally, a Red Peak-themed league jersey would almost certainly look amazing).

24. 2015-2016 Away

Busy up top and simple down below.

24. 2002 Mt Albert strip

Worn specially for a game at Carlaw Park against the Rabbitohs, these are a very rare and sought-after shirt. Helen Clark has one, but that doesn't mean it's good. It kind of doesn't know whether it's blue hoops on a yellow jersey, or a yellow V on a blue jersey.

26. 2014 Nines / 27. 2014 Eden Park

Two similar shirts from the same year. It's like the tiki from the Warriors logo is trapped in the Matrix. An early attempt at cashing in on the Space Maori movement.

28. 2009 Heritage

Similar to the 2007 Auckland shirt by Puma, except less good. They've half committed to the chevron, and it doesn't work. Plus, the dumb CCC neck swirl (more on that later).

29. 2006-2008 Home

It looked like Puma had run out of ideas by the end of their relationship with the Warriors. While most of their shirts are pretty minimalist, this is taking it too far.

30. 2008 Heritage

All clubs had a heritage jersey in 2008 to celebrate 100 years of the Australian Rugby League. Puma chose to look back to the weird away strip of eight years previously. Even though it's not that different, it still manages to be much worse.

31. 2009-2011 Home

CCC took back the jersey-making reigns in 2009 and were in a very curvy period at the time. When wearing the full strip, the team looked like pandas or perhaps, given the way they played in 2011, orca.

32. 2011 Eden Park

The Eden Park jersey in 2011 was produced to celebrate the fact the Warriors were going to play a couple of games at the home of rugby, so they made an all black jersey. But it was very messy and only served to reinforce how well the All Blacks have done to keep sponsors and logos to a minimum for so long.

33. 2006 Awen Guttenbeil testimonial / 34. 2010 Heritage

A special jersey for the Awen Guttenbiel testimonial in 2006, with another version of it in 2010. The grey away jerseys of the mid-00s work because they were simple, something this is not.

35. 2014 Heritage

The third time the original jersey has been re-hashed, and the least successful. The body contains the names of all the players who have worn the Warriors shirt, but that's surely not enough reason to buy another shirt.

36. 2009-2011 Away

Even though this was the shirt worn in the 2011 grand final, it doesn't mean it's good. The weird black lines across the midriff serve no purpose apart from drawing attention to the girth of one's beer belly.

37. 2015 'Te Maumaharatanga' (The Memorial) Anzac jersey


The Warriors' worst attempt at patriotism since the 2011 heritage jersey, and at least that one had an element of simplicity on its side. This one has everything: a New Zealand flag, an Australian flag, white crosses, Kiwis, all lovingly rendered in fake-stained glass. It could have been worse, much worse.

38. 2015 Women In League

While I've complained about the other Women In League shirts, at least they were trying. I'm not sure what this is meant to say. Women like fibre-optic communication?

39. 2016 Women In League

Unfortunately not. The 2016 Women In League jersey was the last to be released in what was one of the most conservative seasons for Warriors' shirt makers. All they've done is change the red on the 2016 home jersey to pink - which is both lazy, and means that the hot pink of the strip contrasts terribly with the red of the Vodafone logo.

40. 2015 Heritage "Te Whare Tu Toa"

I'd guess this is an attempt to recreate some of the magic of the 2012 Pounamu jersey, but lightning does not strike twice here. The front is too busy, with the traditional Maori tukutuku panel being graced by a warrior with a ball. The back was even worse, with a name board featuring the name of each and every Warrior to have played thus far. It was too much information. Plus, it was brown. Brown.

41. 1997-1998 Home and Away

In 1997, the club jumped to the Super League. All the teams had jerseys with the same design, but with different colours. The Warriors returned to the NRL at the end of the Super League wars but, for some reason, brought this awful jersey with them.

42. 1997 Super League Special

A mysterious and very hard-to-find jersey used for one game in the 97 Super League season against Canterbury. Best forgotten.

43. 2012 Women In League

This was the Warriors' first Women In League shirt and their worst (to date). To raise the issue of domestic violence, the team ran around with a shirt that depicted people getting shot with a gun. But pink!

44. 1999 Home and Away

Instead of throwing away the awful jersey inherited from the Super League, they tried to work with it and somehow made it even worse.

45. 2016 Nines "Spirit of the Warrior"

The Warriors delivered their best performance at this year's Nines as beaten finalists. Unfortunately, they did it in their worst nines jersey. Just because you can print detailed drawings onto a shirt doesn't mean you should. Just like the hastily-recruited sponsor for the event, this was a real Downer.

46. 2000 Home, 2001-2002 Away

Please have mercy on my soul.

- The Spinoff

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