The National Rugby League Women’s Premiership Trophy is an important symbol in Australian sport today. It’s designed to embody their credo of ‘inner strength’. Importantly, its design is related to the iconic men’s trophy, while representing the unique reasons for being of the women’s league.
NRL trophies are more than the object themselves. They are required to be both a practical piece and a visual embodiment of the game itself - used as a sponsorship masthead, media visual, even a replacement for the client's logo.
The brief required:
A visually strong, enduring and beautiful design.
An embodiment of their credo 'inner strength' and tagline ‘same game, our way’.
A visual sibling to the men’s NRL Provan Summons Trophy that I created in 1998.
A design with 'story hooks' for the Women’s league’s developing oral history.
Physically strong but lightweight, easily repairable.
On budget and short timeframe.
The ‘inner strength’ credo became the guiding light for this trophy - bringing together opposing parts of the brief into one unified design.
The ball shape is the basis for the design, as with the Men’s Provan Summons trophy (‘same game’). It then opens at the top and uses finer, sophisticated elements (‘our way’) to define the inner space that embraces and protects the reflective ball (symbolic of ‘inner strength’).
The trophy has already begun to successfully generate stories and player rituals.
Practically, components of solid aluminium offer lightweight strength. The machine replicated components are easily replaceable, cost effective and recyclable.
The importance of this premiership can’t be overstated. Introducing new female role models will have positive consequences for girls - and boys - for generations to come.
The trophy is a banner for women's participation. Its strong visual presence has resulted in it progressively becoming a national cultural artefact; used across media, NRL advertising and external/internal branding. Importantly, I designed the trophy to ensure premiership clubs can purchase an affordable replica for their local community use.
Practically, it’s easily handled by one or several players at once, including a suitable strength/weight ratio. It’s also made of recycled aluminium and is completely recyclable.
A trophy is an object whose function is to become an iconic holder of meaningful stories. For example, the now folklore-status story of the Winfield Cup wherein, after the Canberra club's first ever Premiership win, player Laurie Daley dropped it off the back of a ute.
I have used the ball shape as the basis for relevance of the lines of the form.
As a handled object, the trophy is designed for a safe one-player lift with a fabrication integrity that allows for gradual, rather than sudden, failure if dropped.
My design for the Trophy was digitally co-modelled and components manufactured with KinkFab. This combined expertise sees invested in this Trophy over seventy years of practice in the design and making of high end, quality objects. Combining this expertise and the solution of CNC milling for trophy production is an innovation.
The forerunner of this trophy was my 1998 Provan Summons Trophy. Commercially, the media coverage, advertising, marketing and brand recognition of that Trophy has been worth millions of dollars to the NRL. Standing firmly upon this success the Women’s Trophy is designed to be the media vehicle for further expansion into their market through growth of the women’s league.