Tasmanian AFL team prospect ‘now a reality’ if stars align
Herald Sun footy reporter Mick Warner believes Tasmania has been given a wink and a nudge from the AFL, suggesting a local team is a sharp possibility if they can get their ducks in a row.
“I think they’ve got the word from the AFL that if they can organise themselves and get some appropriate business people behind it and government funding, that this Tasmanian team is now a reality,” Warner tells James Willis on Halftime.
“I think it will happen in the next 10 to 15 years,
Hawthorn and North Melbourne are the only two AFL clubs currently committed to play games in Tasmania, but Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman said he’s prepared to open the door for other clubs to play games in Hobart or Launceston once the deals with the Hawks and the Kangaroos expire in 2021.
Both clubs benefit significantly from financial contributions from Tasmania. If the deals aren’t extended, Warner says Hawthorn could absorb the loss but it’s a different story for North.
“The Kangaroos, who are the big struggler of the 10 Victorian teams, I don’t think they could afford to lose Tasmania,
“They said no to a $100 million Gold Coast relocation package, they said no to Ballarat,
“Where is that going to leave the Kangaroos?”
In an interview with 3AW’s Neil Mitchell, the Tasmanian Premier said support from Tasmanian fans is at risk of being poached from rival codes who are keen to establish a presence on the island.
“We’ve got fierce rivalry now from the NBL, they want to look at a team down here, the A-League are interested and so the AFL needs to get with the program and be aware of the competitive nature of what’s happening in Tasmanian sport.” Mr Hodgman said.
“So the AFL have an important role in my view to set down a time frame and a pathway for us to address any impediments that they see we have and we’ll get on with doing that between now and when that licence becomes available.”
Former AFL star David ‘Ox’ Schwarz (who is a bit precious as he suffers from the cold) says young AFL draft prospects might not be excited by the prospect of playing footy in the majestic state of Tasmania, instead suggesting the Northern Territory – or the sauna like Cairns – as a better location for a new AFL franchise.
“I would prefer to go north than go south,” Ox admits.
“Either way, I think that one side has to leave Melbourne eventually.”
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