The Tasmanian AFL bid now has real momentum behind it with 48,140 supporters now signed up on the ‘United We Stand’ website.
A suspected injury to superstar Cyril Rioli could sour Hawthorn’s 53-point AFL thrashing of Gold Coast at Aurora Stadium.
Rioli left the ground in the fourth quarter with what appeared to be a hamstring problem as the Hawks disposed of the hapless Suns 17.14 (116) to 10.3 (63) in heavy rain at times in Launceston.
The 24-year-old had contributed a goal in a typically livewire performance before having ice and strapping applied to his leg.
Rioli has already missed part of the Hawks’ injury-hit premiership defence in 2014 with hamstring issues.
A nine-goal blitz from Hawthorn laid the platform for a big win over the Suns.
The Hawks booted the last five majors of the second quarter and backed up with the first four of the third, their experience handling the tough conditions the better.
The victory lifts the premiers to a share of the competition lead with Port Adelaide, who play on Sunday.
The comprehensive loss leaves the Suns’ 40-point win over Geelong last weekend looking like a blip and their finals hopes back in the balance with just win from their past five.
Skipper Luke Hodge and Luke Breust led the Hawks with three goals each.
For the Gold Coast, Tom Lynch, Gary Ablett and Charlie Dixon booted doubles.
The gutsy Suns led by a single point at the first break but trailed by 30 at halftime as Hawthorn hit the accelerator.
Two goals within a minute to Isaac Smith broke the visitors’ resistance and when Jonathan Ceglar scored within 25 seconds of the third getting underway the writing was on the wall.
The Hawks led by 59 at three-quartertime before the visitors kicked four goals to three in the last.
Hawthorn’s fifth straight win also notched 17 from their past 18 at their Tasmanian fortress.
The Suns are yet to beat the Hawks in six meetings.