Kahu forges Bronco-Kiwi connection
It's an eye-catching design far removed from the colours we normally associate with the Brisbane Broncos but star centre Jordan Kahu says that acknowledgement of former Broncos players represents the most significant aspect to the jersey.
The Broncos will wear the mint-green Maori-themed jersey for the first time when they take on the Storm in their first game of the 2017 Downer NRL Auckland Nines on Saturday with Kahu and teammate Alex Glenn consulting with New Zealand artist Ora Kihi on the design.
Following off-season shoulder surgery Glenn was left back in Queensland to play against the Sharks in Saturday night's trial at Redcliffe, leaving Kahu with the honour of wearing the jersey that he was integral in bringing to life.
While the chest plate represents the rugby league battle-field, it is the bottom spearhead designs that represent all players to have worn the Broncos jersey in the past that Kahu is most proud of.
"Part of the design represents our old players and them handing the jersey down to us. To me that is pretty special," Kahu told NRL.com.
"Knowing the history behind this club and to finally be a Bronco and be able to represent those players that have passed and worn the jersey so proudly is pretty cool.
"I'm really excited to wear it this weekend and even now walking into shops and seeing it hanging in the shops is pretty special. To know that I've been a part of it and know that it will be around for a while is pretty special."
Since Brisbane's introduction into the Australian Rugby League in 1988 the Broncos have received strong support within New Zealand, given the honour of playing against the Warriors in their first premiership appearance in 1995.
Born in Lower Hutt in Wellington, Kahu became aware of the affection for the Broncos at a young age and believes the club's success in the early years forged a strong following throughout New Zealand.
The current Brisbane team is laden with Kiwi representatives in Kahu, Glenn, Adam Blair, Benji Marshall and Kodi Nikorima and were mobbed by fans in the traditional Broncos colours at their fan day at Mangere East Hawks during Thursday's community carnival.
"Where I'm from in Wellington if people didn't support the Warriors they supported the Broncos," Kahu said.
"I always knew that the support for the Broncos here is massive and especially up in Auckland. People here really respect the jerseys and the colours this year and really interested to see a few of them out in the crowd on Saturday and Sunday.
"When the first come in they were really successful and people tend to follow successful teams and that's probably why we're supported so much here.
"It's definitely good to be home."