Push for Tasmanian AFL team hits Parliament
The dream of an AFL football team one day representing Tasmania is expected to come a few steps closer to reality this week, as league boss Gillon McLachlan travels to our southernmost state to present the recommendations of a standing committee looking at Tasmanian football.
McLachlan chairs the standing committee, which is considering the path forward for a side that would remove Tasmania’s unwanted title of being the country’s only state without a professional football side.
Former greats of the game have backed the idea, with even Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition leader Bill Shorten throwing their weight behind the cause.
It even played out in the walls of the Upper House, when Tasmanian Senator Steve Martin put forward a Notice of Motion in the Senate to rally support.
“[The AFL] is not a national competition. It’s a mainland football competition,” Senator Martin told Macquarie Sports Radio’s Cam Reddin.
Senator Martin met with Gillon McLachlan last week to ask that the AFL set a deadline of 2023 for the introduction of a Tasmanian side.
“We’ve been a footy state for decades,” Senator Martin said. “We’ve earned the right.”
“We’ve been neglected over the years I feel, because the money from the AFL has gone into GWS and the Gold Coast Suns instead of coming back and helping us sustain a pathway for our talent”.
While hopes of a team in our southernmost state grow, another venture has been dealt a fatal blow. On Saturday, the FFA discarded a bid by the Tasmanian Football Federation for one of the two A-League expansion licenses.
Only one professional sports team represents Tasmania, the Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash.
An AFLW joint venture between North Melbourne and Tasmania will enter the competition next season.
Click below to hear the full interview: