As the NSW Blues prepare to take on the Maroons in the opening game of the State of Origin series, a leading colour psychologist has praised the team’s controversial dark blue jerseys, saying they convey trust and reliability and display a winning attitude. Zena O’Connor, an evidence-based colour expert, noted that darker blue is often associated with professional business people, and is considered trustworthy and reliable. She added that the sky blue of the traditional NSW kit is associated with happiness, but when it comes to sport, dark blue is seen as a sign of winning at the highest level.
O’Connor also contrasted the dark blue with the maroon of the Queensland jersey, which she described as an “oddball colour,” lacking the bright red hues that are typically seen as associated with a winning team. She noted that women wearing red have a greater aphrodisiac effect on heterosexual men, though that only seems to apply to contexts outside rugby league.
NSW Rugby League officials have ignored an NRL request to return to their traditional sky-blue jersey, instead opting for the navy-blue strip they debuted in 2019, which has become the fastest-selling jersey ever produced by Puma for the Australian market. O’Connor sees the adoption of the darker hue as a smart move, pointing to how both Oxford and Cambridge universities use dark blue, including as a way of awarding dark blue ribbons.
The choice of colours has generated some discussion, with commentators speculating that the NRL may have wanted NSW to switch back to their lighter shade of blue for fear of a clash that would be difficult for viewers. However, Channel Nine, the exclusive broadcaster of Origin games, reportedly had no issue with the navy-blue look.