ALEX FAIR says: I WOULD love to see a Tasmanian AFL side. We are more than worthy of this opportunity.I WOULD love to see a Tasmanian AFL side.
We are more than worthy of this opportunity.
I’d also like to wake up in the morning and see my mortgage has been magically paid off, overseas travel become considerably cheaper and Launceston’s climate to suddenly be comparable to Northern Queensland.
Once again, having our own team has been spoken about. Rather than celebrate that Hawthorn, the most powerful AFL unit on and off field, have re-committed to visiting Launceston’s Aurora Stadium until 2021, the focus has been elsewhere.
Premier Will Hodgman said it was still the “ultimate goal” and would put it on the agenda at the AFL Commission’s historic meeting in Hobart.
Opposition Leader Bryan Green was the first to start singing this tune again when he rolled it out as part of his budget reply.
He hopes it is the last deal between the Hawks and the government. It is a song that is seemingly stuck on repeat, and those pushing play are just hopeful Gillon McLachlan and his mates at the top hear it.
Go West frontman Peter Cox might have proclaimed to be the King of Wishful Thinking in the English pop duo’s 1990 hit, but Hodgman, Green et al could give him a run for his money.
There are a couple of simple reasons why a Tasmanian team just doesn’t work at the moment.
The first is we already have our own teams. Supporters already have an emotional connection with an AFL club as a supporter or member. They would not be willing to give this up for a state team, so you would you just have “token” fans.
Then there’s the fact a competition with 18 teams is only good for two parties, the broadcasters and the league which reaps the huge financial gain from selling these games.
For the rest of us, it is painful.
The talent pool has been stretched to its breaking point, and another player would make things worse.
In reality, a 12-team competition would be better, but that will never happen, and the competition expanding is just as unlikely.
A team would need to die completely, or relocate, for Tasmania to have its own side.
But would Gill want to be the man that “kills Bambi” in a football sense to make this happen?
NSW and Queensland are still where the league’s interest lies.
Those clubs (GWS and Gold Coast) will need to be well established, with at least a decade after the last impacted drafts caused by these sides, for things to be “fair” for the clubs already in existence.
McLachlan has been on the record as saying he would like to see one team representing the state, which backs up AFL Tasmania’s desire.
If this is still how he sees it, this “one team” would be an already established AFL side, not our own.
If I were Mr Hodgman or Mr Green, that is the answer to the question I would be expecting when thinking ahead to 2021.
Unless something dramatic happens, that team won’t be Hawthorn.
Who it could be (if I was a betting man North Melbourne would be favourite) and the impact for the state is a discussion for another time.
Rather than bring up the talk of an AFL team, our politicians should have been celebrating the fact we didn’t lose Hawthorn.
The strong economic impact that having the two-time reigning premiers has had for the state, particularly the North, can’t be dismissed.
And what would make more sense than the “state team” talk would be to try to attract another side to the state. St Kilda, for example.
From the outside, the Saints’ New Zealand experiment does not seem to be working.
Try to lure them back for a couple of games a year, which would give us nine games (including three Roos matches in Hobart) a year.
It’s more likely to happen than the state having its own team.
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