International Rugby League legend James Graham has joined Classic Sportswear as a brand ambassador, representing the high-performance sportswear label in his adopted home of Australia and supporting Classic’s growth objectives in the United Kingdom.
The recently retired Graham is a legend of the sport. In a career spanning two decades he played more than 400 First Grade games in the UK and Australia, and captained England in numerous internationals.
Graham’s British roots also make him ideally placed to help grow the brand in the UK, and he will be actively involved in Classic Sportswear’s expansion at the elite level.
“James is the ideal ambassador for Classic Sportswear,” says Managing Director Warren Carrey. “His international success and longevity at the elite level, his renowned sportsmanship and all-round excellence are qualities which are perfectly in sync with our brand”.
“James enjoys an immense profile in the game on both sides of the world said Carney. “We are delighted to welcome James to the team at Classic and he will play a central role in helping us achieve our growth aspirations in the UK market as well as here in Australia”.
Classic Sportswear’s expansion strategy into the UK market includes the launch of a specific UK Classic logo, which proudly displays the British Lion in place of the Kangaroo that has featured on the Classic logo in Australia since 1934.
“This is the first time Classic have featured an animal other than a Kangaroo in more than 86 years, but we know the passion that exists for the Lion in the UK and want to provide high performance apparel that the British sporting public can identify with,” said Carney. “We believe this is a perfect fit to support our launch into the UK market, with our new UK logo and the active support of the ‘Lion King” himself in James Graham.
Graham is delighted to be joining the team at Classic and is looking forward to putting some energy into helping the brand grow and prosper.
“I first encountered the Classic Sportswear brand as a 15-year-old on my first trip to Sydney and I vividly remember buying all of this NRL gear and being in awe of the brand,” said Graham. “It’s amazing that all these years later I now have the opportunity to represent the brand and help them achieve their growth plans in the UK and other markets.”
“Classic are partners of both the Bulldogs and Dragons where I spent so much time, so I feel very connected to the brand,” said Graham. “Classic represents excellence, and their high-performance sportswear will help the next generation of athletes achieve their best. I’m proud to be a part of that ongoing story.”
“To have the chance to reconnect with my Rugby League colleagues in the UK to advocate a brand that features the British Lion is something I am passionate about,” said Graham. “I can see a day when the England team will feature the Lion logo up against the Australian team with the Kangaroo logo.”
Two Major Players with a Gilded History on the Field
Classic Sportswear has been dressing Australian athletes, students and fans since 1934. Like James Graham, the brand is known for quality and longevity, and works with some of the most prestigious names in Australian sport, including the NRL, AFL, NSWRL, QRL, Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, South Sydney Rabbitohs, St George Illawarra Dragons and Brisbane Lions.
James Graham started his career in 2000 as a junior for UK Super League team St Helens, making his senior debut in 2003. In 2006, he helped St Helens claim the Challenge Cup Final and Super League Grand Final, before winning the 2008 Man of Steel award for the best player in the Super League. Graham was selected to play for England in the 2008 Rugby League World Cup and was handed the captaincy in 2010 for the Four Nations Tournament; an honour that made him one of the youngest England Captains in history.
In 2012, Graham made the leap to the Australian NRL with the Canterbury Bulldogs, playing in multiple grand finals before being named Captain in 2015. He made history that same year by becoming the most capped England International, making his 28th appearance for his national side.
Graham moved to St George Illawarra Dragons in 2018. He played his 400th First Grade game at the club in 2019, joining a small group of elite players to have achieved that benchmark.
In 2019 he captained England in the 2019 Rugby League World Cup 9s and was selected in the squad for the 2019 Great Britain Lions tour of the Southern Hemisphere. In June 2020 Graham was released by St. George to pursue an opportunity to go back home to St Helens, where he played in the 2020 Super League Grand Final which St Helens won. It was a triumphant finish to a storied international career.
Now settled in Australia, Graham still has significant involvement with the sport, appearing in the media for Fox Sports and on the coaching staff at the St George Illawarra Dragons.
Integrated Apparel: Dressing Elite Athletes, Grassroots Sport and Corporates
As well as Classic, Graham will represent the group’s integrated apparel brands, which play together to present complete uniform solutions.
Carney Sports Marketing (CSM) produces exceptional teamwear for grassroots associations, teams, officials and semi-professional clubs and officials including Basketball NSW, NRL Referees, NRL Masters, Shimano and Sutherland Shire Football Association through a strategic network of brand partners.
Dina Uniform Group seamlessly delivers complex corporate uniform and workwear solutions for premium clients such as Transport NSW, Jetstar, Thrifty, NRMA, Bupa, Westfield, Royal Flying Doctor Services and Coal Services Australia.
With their own factory and complete control of the supply chain, the group has the singular capacity to design, develop and deliver total uniform solutions in-house for major clients.
An international rugby league star like James Graham is a natural fit for a group of brands which outperform the competition across every sector.