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Beyond the Bale : Apr - May 08
Wool I<eeps Cowboys in the saddle The North Queensland Cowboys have a new 'weapon' - Sportwool™ jerseys to keep them cool under pressure By Rebecca Thyer W hether under pressure from southern opposition or the unrelenting humidity of their Townsville home ground, the North eensland Cowboys need jerseys that keep them cool. It is a consideration that the National Rugby League (NRL) team's official apparel supplier Concept Sports International (CSI) took seriously when designing the club's new jersey, officially launched late last year. The change of jersey comes at an important time for the north eensland team. With the team's ownership transferring from News Limited to the Cowboys Leagues Club, the Cowboys thought it appropriate for a jersey change. And although the jersey's colours hark back to the team's 1995 debut strip, the technology behind it is cutting edge. For the past three years CSI has used Sportwool"M, the Australian extra-fine Merino technology developed by CSIRO and The Woolmark Company, for the Cowboy's Jerseys. Sportwool"M merges extra-fine Merino wool with a synthetic outer layer. This construction gives wearers all the benefits of wool against the skin - keeping them cool and dry, reducing sweat, minimising odour, and reducing post-exercise chill- while the synthetic outer layer gives important dyeing and durability qualities. It can be printed using the sublimation or digital print process (where heat is used to transfer images to fabric), making it ideal for team colours and sponsor logos. It was these two qualities that drew CSI to Sportwool"M. CSI managing director Gary March says his company has worked with the Cowboys for a number of years and understands the team's needs well. "We were interested in being able to use the sublimation printing process, but also PHOTO: CAMERON SPENCER / GETTY IMAGES in having a fabric that performed well for a team playing in the humidity of Townsville - it's a consideration we took seriously." Mr March says Sportwool"M does this, and the fabric's synthetic outer layer also makes the product durable - fabric tear and burst strength being key performance requirements. "I can't even remember when we had a torn jersey." He says players have been very happy with the Sportwool"M jerseys, manufactured in eensland. ''At the start of every season, players usually get a few jerseys, all made from the same fabric, which means they have to wear them in temperatures that can range from sac to 35 a C. "The great thing about Sportwool@ is that it's great in hot and humid conditions. By drawing moisture away it keeps players cool and ensures the jersey does not get heavy. It's also great in colder conditions - ideal for when the team plays southern-based teams." Sportwool"M is a smart fabric, designed to keep the body at optimum operating temperature. The Woolmark Company's Sportwool"M business manager Glenn Renshaw says Sportwool"M is the natural solution for sportswear, given its robustness and climatic control benefits. "The irony is that the only ARL team wearing Sportwool"M is the North eensland Cowboys, who play in the most humid and hot conditions;' he says. "We enjoy working with elite-level teams - the feedback we receive is beneficial to ongoing development of the Sportwool"M fabric collection." 0 "The athletes are great ambassadors for their country, and the Australian public like to see them stylishly dressed when they appear on the world stage;' Mr Montgomery says. The colour range of the suits reflects the Australian coastline, with the emphasis on the oceanic blues. The traditional Australian colours of green and gold make a subtle appearance through the accessories. "The athletes need to feel confident and professional without looking too corporate;' Ms Wong says. "Uniforms need to work with all shapes and sizes, from the tallest basketballer to the most petite gymnast." Swimmer Ky Hurst, one of six Australian athletes who modelled the uniform at the launch, said the suit was comfortable to wear:"1 couldn't think of a better suit to wear in the heat as the fabric is nice and light, and the colours are gorgeous:' More information: www.oIympics.com.au 17 OUTDOORS BEYONDTHE BALE WHAT IS SPORTWOOL™? Sportwoor M was developed by CSIRO and The Wool mark Company. A trademark of The Wool mark Company, Sportwoor M will be managed by AWl now that the two companies have integrated. Sportwoor M brings the best of two fibres together: an inside layer of fine wool against the skin provides qualities such as body-moisture absorption, while the outside synthetic layer provides important dyeing capabilities and durability. The Sportwoor M range is continuously evolving as The Wool mark Company works with elite athletes. It has been used by AFL teams, the Australian cricket team, US Major League Baseball teams and the Manchester United football team. Sportwoor M is designed to keep the wearer cool and dry. It rapidly draws sweat away from the skin and thus provides inherent protection against post-exercise chill. It also boasts natural elasticity and shape retention, bacteria inhibitors and odour control and enhanced UV protection, and it can be machine washed and tumble dried. The fabric improves wearer comfort by combating sweat formation and reducing interior humidity. Air trapped on the inside of a garment, closest to the skin, tends to exhibit a higher moisture content than air on the outside, producing its own microclimate. Sportwoor M 'wicks' moisture away from the skin to the outside of the fabric. Tests have shown that Sportwoor M outperforms high-performance synthetic fabrics by up to seven per cent in reducing humidity next to the skin. More information: www.wool.com/sport.php Synthetic fabric Sportwoor M
Feb - Mar 08
Jun - Jul 08 Supplement