The Wests Tigers have unveiled their new playing strip for 2011 along with welcoming billionaire property tycoon Harry Triguboff back into the fold as a major sponsor.
Sitting comfortably in the top five Australian earners on BRW’s rich list for 2010 with a personal fortune of $4.2 billion, the return of Triguboff is a major power play by the Tigers.
Triguboff famously severed ties with Wests Tigers after the club’s ill-fated inaugural season a decade ago but thanks to some skilful negotiating from CEO Stephen Humphreys, big Harry is back.
The Tigers have also slightly altered their stripes for next season.
“The jerseys are awesome. Believe it or not the players actually had a fair bit of input into the design of them and we couldn’t be happier with how they’ve come out,” winger Beau Ryan said.
“There’s a Lycra strip down either side to allow the material plenty of breathing space and the collars are designed so you can’t try and take blokes’ heads off.
“They’re a good fit and a good feel. As a matter of fact Chris (Heighington) and I wanted to take them home but the club wouldn’t let us.”
The new-look jerseys are another predominantly Humphreys initiative, with the club wanting to continue to recognise its Western Suburbs and Balmain heritage but also continue to grow as a merged entity.
“One of the issues has been that the black jumper was seen as a throwback to Western Suburbs and the orange one was seen as a throwback to Balmain,” Humphreys said.
“We kind of want to get a bit beyond that now and create something that is a Wests Tigers identity rather than a throwback.”
On the acquisition of Triguboff, Humphreys said: “Harry doesn’t back losers so we’re taking that as a compliment and we’ll make sure he gets a good return on that investment.”
Wests Tigers also announced that veteran forwards, prop Todd Payten and second-rower Chris Heighington, have signed new deals with the club.
Both players would have been off contract at the end of next season, with Payten’s new one-year deal seeing him remain at the Tigers until the end of 2012.
Heighington has extended his contract for a further two years and will remain at the club until the end of the 2013 season.
The respected forwards have played 402 NRL matches between them.