5 interesting origins of current team nicknames
Sydney fans will know that this one stems from the 30s, where the team wore mostly white jumpers with a dash of red – hence gaining the nickname ‘Bloodstained Angels’. This was later shortened to ‘Bloods’, and was carried through the decades to still be a common nickname for Sydney. It’s also said that it was somewhat revived to embody a tougher and more fierce depiction of a team that was otherwise known as the swans, a softer and more delicate representation.
Just a classic case of “I forgot to proofread my Facebook rant before I posted my comment” here. Basically, a couple of years ago a woman posted in an Adelaide Crows pride forum on Facebook where she misspelt ‘go crows’ as ‘go crom’ – and those in the forum ran with it. Not only was the term put to good use in mainstream media, but it was also used by the admins of the original page where it popped up, who decided to create some ‘Go Crom’ beanies to raise money for MND.
The term ‘Blue Baggers’ comes from a laundry product used across households in Australia around WW2. The product was called ‘Reckitt’s Blue’, came in little blue bags, and was a similar colour to the classic navy blue jumper – so it was as if the jumpers had been blue bagged.
This nickname was more of a dig at North Melbourne supporters being lazy or not intelligent enough to pronounce their team’s name correctly, evidently coined by supporters of rival clubs.
Rather comically, this one stemmed from feral fans slurring the word ‘power’ when cheering at the footy – so it sounded more like ‘pearwar’. It was embraced by the club, which is why you will have seen it getting thrown around by supporters, or the Port Adelaide social media team.
Past nicknames that didn’t stick around
Not all clubs have had the same nickname since day one. From comical to plain to downright odd, let’s have a look at where each club has come from when it comes to their past nicknames. It would certainly be interesting to shout some of these from the stands these days…
When the club was born in 1990, there were a few names tossed up – including ‘Sharks’ – more or less the opposite of what they ended up. But the Crows was what stuck, presumably relating to the colloquial term identifying South Australians – ‘Croweaters’.
Brisbane has always been the Lions in its own right, after the Bears merged with Fitzroy – funnily enough though, their logo was a Koala originally.
The Blues have had some interesting nicknames in their history. Up until 1871, they were known as ‘the Butchers’ due to the blue jackets and hate that they wore being reminiscent of butchers of the late 19th century. After WWII, they even considered changing their name to the Cockatoos, which never eventuated. It did stick around on a small scale, but never gained momentum.
One of Collingwood’s early nicknames wasn’t based on stereotypes or anything related to choking in grand finals… it was simply to do with the flat landscape of Collingwood itself. This saw them coined the ‘Flatties’ or ‘Flatites’. They were also known by some rival fans as the ‘Purloiners’.
Before they were the Bombers, Essendon were known as the ‘Same Olds’. This originated from a song that was regularly performed by a band of supporters at games, and was also said to distinguish them from another Essendon team. Later on, they were also referred to as the ‘Sash Wearers’ and ‘Essendonians’ – obvious classics based on their jumper and club name.
Simply put, the Dockers were always the Dockers, even after the ‘Cobras’ and ‘Sharks’ were floated around as an option.
The Cats originally had a couple of nicknames – the ‘All Whites’, the ‘Pivotonians’ (due to the fact that the city itself was known colloquially as ‘The Pivot’), and the ‘Seagulls’. This was said to come from the blue water contrasting with the white seagulls at Corio Bay.
What is now known as the Hawks, were once known as the ‘Mayblooms’. There are various versions of the origins of this – mostly coming back to the VFA days and the reference to the Hawthorn plant, which has a gold fruit and brown foliage. The term ‘Mustard Pots’ was also born in 1933, after the club’s jumper design was reversed to gold with a brown V.
Back at their origin, Melbourne were dubbed the ‘Invincible Whites’, but subsequently adopted the nickname ‘Redlegs’ due to the red woollen socks that a club official brought to the club. They were also known as the ‘Fuchsias’, again due to their predominant club colour. The turning point to becoming the Demons was alleged to have come from a feisty quote by their coach Frank Hughes in 1933, where he instructed that they play more like demons.
Before being called ‘the Magpies’ (in the SANFL), Port Adelaide has had a number of different nicknames. In the early days, Port Adelaide were simply known as the ‘Seasiders’, ‘Seaside Men’ or ‘Portonians’, but the names ‘Cockledivers’ and even a more derogatory ‘Mudholians’ were also thrown around. Due to their original jumper colours in the late 1800s, they were known as the ‘Magentas’, and then obviously the ‘Magpies’ after 1902 when the black and white won over in the South Australian comp. When they officially joined the AFL, potential nicknames included ‘Black Diamonds’, ‘Sharks’, ‘Mariners’ and ‘Pirates’.
One that dates back to very early days (we’re talking around WWI pre-VFL), North Melbourne were known as the ‘Invincibles’, following an undefeated period of 5 years. Of course, a current, more well-known nickname is the ‘Shinboners’, which they adopted as a result of their origins from abattoir workers (others will also tell you that it was due to a reputation for starting fights and kicking opponents in the shins). The term ‘Blue Birds’ was briefly thrown around as well, but never really gained momentum.
Richmond never really had a plethora of nicknames. They were momentarily called the ‘Richmondites’ as well as ‘Wasps’ due to their colour – but stuck to the Tigers in the early 1900s.
A concept that seems funny now, St Kilda went through a momentary period of being known as the ‘Panthers’, but have been the Saints since day one.
Back in the South Melbourne days, the now Swans were referred to as ‘Southerners’ in addition to the variations of ‘Bloodstained Angels’.
Back in their early (Footscray) days, the ‘Tricolours’ was a popular nickname for the now Western Bulldogs, after they adopted their red, white and blue club colours. ‘The Scray’ was also thrown around.
While they haven’t been immune to derogatory nicknames from rival fans, the Eagles have always been the Eagles – and fittingly so, given their strength and tendency to travel.