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Australian national sports team nicknames

In Australia, the national representative team of many sports has a nickname, used informally when referring to the team in the media or in conversation. These nicknames are typically derived from well-known symbols of Australia. Often the nickname is combined with that of a commercial sponsor, such as the "Qantas Wallabies" or the "Telstra Dolphins". Some names are a portmanteau word with second element -roo, from kangaroo; such as "Olyroos" for the Olympic association football team.

History

The oldest nicknames are Kangaroos and Wallabies for the rugby league football and rugby union teams. The other names are more recent, mostly invented to help publicise sports not traditionally popular in Australia.[1] Some journalists have criticised the practice as embarrassing,[2] gimmicky, or PR-driven.[3]

The name "Wallabies" was chosen by the 1908 rugby union side, making its first tour of the Northern Hemisphere.[4] British newspapers had already nicknamed the 1905 New Zealand touring team the "All Blacks" from their sporting uniform predominant colour;[5] the 1906 South African tourists had adopted "Springboks".[6] "Rabbits" was first suggested for Australia, but rejected since rabbits there are notorious as pests.[4] Until the 1980s, only touring sides were "Wallabies"; players on the eight tours up to 1984 were "the First Wallabies" up to "the Eighth Wallabies".[4]

The rugby league tour side arrived in Britain later in 1908 with a live kangaroo as mascot and were nicknamed "Kangaroos".[7][8] "Kangaroos" originally referred only to teams on "Kangaroo Tours" to Britain and France.[8][9][10] In 1994 the Australian Rugby League extended the nickname to all internationals for sponsorship reasons, drawing criticism for the break with tradition.[8][9][10] The first such game was a 58–0 win over France at Parramatta Stadium on 6 July 1994.[10][11]

Among the longer-established sports, the test cricket and Davis Cup tennis teams have no common nickname. Harry Beitzel's 1967 Australian Football World Tour team was unofficially nicknamed the Galahs from their flashy uniform. Though this side was a precursor of subsequent Australian international rules football teams, the nickname has not been retained.

Australian Tennis magazine invited readers to suggest a nickname for the Davis Cup team in 1996.[12] The Australia Fed Cup team has been called the Cockatoos, first suggested by player Casey Dellacqua in a press conference at the April 2012 match against Germany. The name has been embraced by teammates and used on the website of governing body Tennis Australia.[13][14]

As part of a 1998 strategic business plan, Cricket Australia surveyed "stakeholders" in 1998 about a possible nickname, to enhance marketing opportunities.[15] State cricket teams in the Sheffield Shield had benefited from adopting nicknames in the 1990s.[15] 69% opposed a national nickname, partly from a sense of decorum[16] and partly because the best names were already taken by other teams.[16][17]

Athletics Australia held a competition for a nickname for its squad for the 2001 World Athletics Championships.[18] The winning entry was "the Diggers", from the nickname for ANZAC soldiers.[18] This was quickly abandoned[19] after criticism from the Returned and Services League of Australia and others that this was an inappropriate use of the term.[18] The team previously had a little-used[18] nickname, "the Blazers".[20]

In December 2004, the Australian Soccer Association renamed itself Football Federation Australia (FFA) and announced an effort to rebrand association football as "football" rather than "soccer" in Australia.[21] The national team had been nicknamed "the Socceroos" by journalist Tony Horstead on a 1967 tour to South Vietnam.[22] FFA chairman Frank Lowy commented "It has been commonly used and is a much loved name but we may see it fade out as evolution takes place", and suggested few national football teams had nicknames.[21] By 2016, the FFA announcement of Caltex as sponsors was titled "Caltex Australia with the Socceroos all the way".[23]

Table

Sport Team (link to team / event) Nickname (link for origin) Name sponsor
Rugby union Men's test Wallabies[4] Cadbury[24]
Women's Wallaroos[25] Paper to Paper[26]
Under-21 side Junior Wallabies
Men's Sevens Thunderbolts
Women's Sevens Pearls
Rugby league football Men's test Kangaroos[27][28] (Previously VB[29][30] and Holden[31])
Women's Jillaroos[32][33] Harvey Norman[34]
Under-20 side Junior Kangaroos Holden[31]
Wheelchair rugby Paralympic Steelers (official[35]) Wheelabies (unofficial[36][37])
Soccer[38] Men's Socceroos Subway[39]
Women's (incl. Olympic) Matildas (from Waltzing Matilda) Commonwealth Bank[40]
Olympic men's Olyroos Subway[39]
Under-20 (men) Young Socceroos Subway[39]
Under-20 (women) Young Matildas Commonwealth Bank[40]
Under-17 (men) Joeys Subway[39]
Under-17 (women) Junior Matildas U17s Commonwealth Bank[40]
World Medical Football Championships Docceroos[41]
Men's blind Bilbies [42]
Beach Handball Australian Women's National Team Aussie Beach Gliders
Futsal[43] National team Futsalroos
Goalball Australian women's national team Aussie Belles[44]
Australian men's national team Aussie Storm [45]
Netball Women's national team Diamonds[46][47] Origin Energy[48]
Men's national team Kelpies [49]
Mixed Sonix
Under 23 (men's) Sparx
Touch Football Australian Touch Football Team Emus[50]
Quizzing Australian Quiz Team Quokkas[51]
Athletics Australian Athletics Team Australian Flame
Cricket National team Baggy Greens (officially for the caps, metonymically for the players) Commonwealth Bank
Women's Southern Stars[52] Commonwealth Bank
Swimming Australian Swim Team (Olympic, Paralympic, and World Championships) Dolphins (dropped 2009, revived 2015)[53][54] Hancock Prospecting
Softball Men's Aussie Steelers[55]
Women's (Olympic / World's) Dingeroos/Aussie spirit [56]
Women's U-19 Aussie Pride[57]
Water polo Men's Sharks[58]
Women's Stingers
Basketball[59] Men's Boomers Airbnb[60]
Women's Opals Jayco
Under-21 (men) Crocs[61]
Under-21 (women) Sapphires
Under-19 (men) Emus
Men's 3 x 3 Gangurrus[62]
Women's 3 x 3 Gangurrus[63]
Under-19 (women) Gems
Intellectual disability (men) Boomerangs
Intellectual disability (women) Pearls
Deaf (men) Goannas [64]
Deaf (men) - U21 Dingos [65]
Deaf (women) Geckos[66]
Deaf (women) - U21 Ringtails [67]
Men's wheelchair Rollers
Women's wheelchair Gliders
U-23 wheelchair (men) Spinners
U-25 wheelchair (women) Devils[68]
Wheelchair (women) 3 x 3 Wombats[69]
Wheelchair (men) 3 x 3 Wombats[70]
Cycling World Championships/World Cup Cyclones[71] Toshiba
Field hockey Men's[72][73] Kookaburras
Women's[72][73] Hockeyroos None for 2007 (ANZ for 2004 Olympics)[74]
Under-21 (men)[73] Burras
Under-21 (women)[73] Jillaroos
Ice hockey Men's Mighty Roos[75] (after The Mighty Ducks)
Women's Mighty Jills
Para Hockey IceROOS
Lacrosse Men's Sharks[76]
Women's Mellies[citation needed]
Men's U23s Aussie Roos [77]
Women's U23s Team Koala [77]
Men's U19s Crocodiles[78]
Women's U19s Stars[citation needed] (after the Southern Cross)
Women's U17s Team Koala
Box lacrosse Men's Boxaroos[79]
Bowls Men's Jackaroos – a pun on jack, the target ball[80]
Women's Sapphires[81]
Orienteering National team Boomerangs[82]
Team handball Men's Crocodiles[83]
Women's Redbacks[83][84]
Ultimate frisbee[85] Open Dingos
Women's Firetails
Mixed Barramundis
Women Masters Taipans
Open Masters Wombats
Under-23s Open Goannas[86]
Under-23s Women Stingrays[86]
Under-19s Open Thunder
Under-19s Women Southern Terra
Tennis Fed Cup Cockatoos[14]
Roller derby Men Wizards of AUS[87]
Universiade National team Australian Uniroos[88]
Baseball Men's Southern Thunder[89]
Women's Emeralds[90]
Volleyball Men's and Women's Volleyroos.[91] 1988 – 1992 The Kookaburras.
Fistball Men's Wombats[92]
Women's Possums
Men's Masters Dugongs
Quidditch National team Drop bears
Badminton National team Falcons
Surfing Olympics Irukandjis
Finska/Mölkky National Team Finskaroos Planet Finska
Backyard ultra Marathon National Team (Mixed) Redback Yarders
Kilikiti National team AussieRoos

See also

References

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  2. ^ Hedge, Mike (8 February 2001). "Sporting nicknames reach new low with Diggers". AAP.
  3. ^ McFarlane, Glenn; Damian Barrett (5 August 2001). "Stop the nickname nonsense". Sunday Herald Sun. p. 80.
  4. ^ a b c d "Who are the Qantas Wallabies?". Australian Rugby Union. Archived from the original on 21 February 2009. Retrieved 28 March 2009.
  5. ^ "All Blacks: How they got their name". rugbyfootballhistory.com. 2007. Archived from the original on 21 February 2009. Retrieved 27 March 2009.
  6. ^ "The History of South African Rugby: The First Tour". rugbyfootballhistory.com. 2007. Archived from the original on 21 February 2009. Retrieved 27 March 2009.
  7. ^ Collins, Tony (1998). Rugby's great split: class, culture, and the origins of Rugby League football. Routledge. p. 223. ISBN 0-7146-4867-1.
  8. ^ a b c Heads, Ian (11 August 1994). "Forgotten relic recalls old values". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 49.
  9. ^ a b Masters, Roy (27 September 1994). "Critics question Hill selection". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 64.
  10. ^ a b c Heads, Ian (14 July 1994). "Hectic days that mirror changing face of the game". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 49.
  11. ^ Mascord, Steve (7 July 1994). "Meninga's farewell no fun for France". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 50.
  12. ^ Prentice, Tim (13 September 1996). "Aussie Aces serve it up for wider Davis Cup recognition". The Daily Telegraph. p. 100.
  13. ^ "Video: Sam chats from "chair of truth"". Tennis Australia. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  14. ^ a b "Aussie Fed Cup team supports juniors". Tennis Australia. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  15. ^ a b Malone, Paul (3 June 1998). "Test side in name game". The Daily Telegraph. p. 71.
  16. ^ a b Craddock, Robert (6 August 1998). "Test cricket men market talent alone". The Advertiser.
  17. ^ "There's one in every crowd..." AAFLA Sportsletter. Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles. October 2003. Archived from the original on 1 October 2008. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
  18. ^ a b c d Ede, Charisse; Darren Walton (4 August 2001). "Digger nickname could be buried". The Advertiser. p. 2.
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  20. ^ "Olympic Review: The nickname game". The San Diego Union-Tribune. 17 September 2000. p. Special, p.2. The Aussie track team is the Blazers.
  21. ^ a b "Soccer to become football in Australia". Associated Press. 16 December 2004.
  22. ^ Cockerill, Michael (14 January 2005). "O'Neill wants to lose Roos in the name of progress". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 36.
  23. ^ "Caltex Australia with the Socceroos all the way". Football Federation Australia. 2 March 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  24. ^ Kruimel, Olivia (13 May 2021). "Rugby Australia and Cadbury sign new deal for Wallabies". Mumbrella.
  25. ^ "Wallaroos: History". Australian Rugby Union. Archived from the original on 7 October 2007. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
  26. ^ "Paper to Paper Wallaroos Squad -Samoa" (Press release). Australian Rugby Union. Archived from the original on 13 August 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2009.
  27. ^ Fagan, Sean (2 December 2009). "The Kangaroos Mascot". rl1908.com. Archived from the original on 9 October 2010. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
  28. ^ Fagan, Sean. "The Australian Rugby League Kangaroos". RL1908.com. Archived from the original on 25 July 2010. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
  29. ^ "VB Sponsorship a positive for Rugby League in NSW". rleague.com. 18 May 2011. Archived from the original on 1 February 2013. Retrieved 23 November 2011. VB, a long-term supporter of the Blues and naming rights partner for the VB Kangaroos
  30. ^ "NRL Sponsors". National Rugby League. Archived from the original on 21 November 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  31. ^ a b "Holden signs $10 million deal to sponsor NRL, Kangaroos and State of Origin | News.com.au". www.news.com.au. Archived from the original on 31 January 2013.
  32. ^ ARL (2008). "Jillaroos gunning for a spot in World Cup final". Archived from the original on 29 October 2010. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
  33. ^ "Australian Women's Rugby League – the online home of the Jillaroos". Archived from the original on 18 April 2012. Retrieved 18 January 2008.
  34. ^ "NRL".
  35. ^ Australian Athletes with a Disability (October–November 2007). "Australian Athletes with a Disability Newsletter" (Press release). Archived from the original on 26 December 2007. Retrieved 22 November 2007. The Steelers, Australia's National Wheelchair Rugby team, recently competed in the cross Tasman Chris Handy Cup challenge
  36. ^ AAP Sports News (15 September 2004). "Wheelabies challenged by disability rating change". Retrieved 22 November 2007. The Australian wheelchair rugby team's bid for gold in Athens has suffered a major blow [...][dead link]
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  40. ^ a b c Ward, Miranda (13 April 2021). "Commonwealth Bank backs Matildas in naming rights deal". Australian Financial Review.
  41. ^ "Docceroos". Australian Medical Association. Archived from the original on 22 August 2017. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  42. ^ "The Bilbies | Paralympics Australia". www.paralympic.org.au. Retrieved 5 April 2024.
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  44. ^ "Goalball Australia". Blind Sports Australia. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  45. ^ Australia, Goalball. "Programs". www.goalballaustralia.org. Retrieved 5 April 2024.
  46. ^ "Australian netball team named the Diamonds". ABC News. 8 September 2008. Archived from the original on 15 October 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2008.
  47. ^ "Australian Diamonds history". Netball Australia. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
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  49. ^ "Kelpies Unleashed". AMMNA. 28 August 2023. Retrieved 5 April 2024.
  50. ^ "Australian Emus".
  51. ^ "About Us".
  52. ^ "Southern Stars". Women's Cricket in Australia. Cricket Australia. Archived from the original on 24 July 2002. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  53. ^ Newman, Beth (16 March 2015). "Swimming Australia brings back Dolphins". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
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  55. ^ "Australian Open Men's team". Softball Australia. 2008. Archived from the original on 19 July 2008. Retrieved 20 August 2008.
  56. ^ @mesut_ausil (26 July 2021). "Dingeroos" (Tweet). Retrieved 26 July 2021 – via Twitter.
  57. ^ "Australian Under 19 Women's Team". Softball Australia. 2006. Archived from the original on 19 July 2008. Retrieved 20 August 2008.
  58. ^ "Aussie Sharks win historic bronze medal at World League Super Finals". Australian Water Polo. 12 August 2007. Archived from the original on 1 September 2007. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
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  60. ^ Ward, Roy (24 July 2014). "Australian Boomers boost coffers with Airbnb sponsorship deal". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  61. ^ BA media (13 April 2005). "Young men vying for Crocs spots". Archived from the original on 18 December 2007. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
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  65. ^ "The Dingoes (U21 Mens)". Deaf Basketball Australia. Retrieved 5 April 2024.
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  67. ^ "The Ringtails (U21 Women)". Deaf Basketball Australia. Retrieved 5 April 2024.
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  80. ^ "Jackaroos is a winner". Bowls Australia. August 2004. As a result, the Australian men's bowls team has a new nickname – the Jackaroos. [...] The jackaroo is symbolic of the Australian outback. And the first part of the word – jack – is the most common name for the small white ball that is the prime focus and target in a game of bowls.
  81. ^ "The shining Sapphires". Bowls Australia. 2004. Archived from the original on 30 August 2007. Retrieved 23 November 2007. After much deliberation the new nickname for the Australian women's bowls team is the Sapphires.
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  86. ^ a b "Sting Rays and Goannas hit the fields in Florence". AFDA. Archived from the original on 17 September 2010. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  87. ^ "Wizards of aus". Archived from the original on 7 April 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  88. ^ "Australian Uniroos". Archived from the original on 5 April 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  89. ^ "Southern Thunder - Australia's National Mens Baseball Team > Home". Archived from the original on 11 April 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  90. ^ "Emeralds - Australia's National Women's Baseball Team > Home". Archived from the original on 21 December 2019. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  91. ^ "Australian Volleyball Federation". Archived from the original on 2 December 1998. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  92. ^ "National Teams".
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Australian national sports team nicknames
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