It’s time for a Tasmanian AFL team

Typewriter S Roar Rookie

By Typewriter S, Typewriter S is a Roar Rookie


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    An odd thought occurred while watching AFL in recent weeks: has Tasmania been taken for granted? Do they deserve their own team?

    When Caroline Wilson made a comment to the effect the AFL is trying to end Hawthorn’s deal with Tasmania as “it had not developed”, I felt anger on behalf of Tasmanians wanting a team. The Hawthorn plan was an unfair experiment.

    I am not sure how many Tasmanians have played for Hawthorn. I am sure there are many Tasmanians who follow a Melbourne-based team because their local hero played in the VFL or AFL, such as ‘Percy’ Jones at Carlton or Max Walker at St Kilda.

    The recent game Greater Western Sydney game in Tasmania highlighted why the Hawthorn experience may not replicate a Tasmanian-based team outcome. Firstly, if you follow a team other than Hawthorn or GWS, would you pay X dollars to watch the game? If your weekly ritual is to go with mates to a local ground to watch players you know, paying only Y dollars, what would break your routine?

    West Australian fans have shown what happened when they had their own team in AFL.

    A lot of my friends fly to interstate games to watch GWS play. Melbourne games are popular for the ability to fly there and back in the same day. Very few go to Tasmanian games for varying reasons – cost, flight times, flights via Melbourne, school holidays.

    The Sydney derby had me thinking of the cliche quote ‘build it and they will come’. It is true for the second team in Sydney, as it probably would be for Tasmania. Who would have thought a team located in working class rugby league heartland would be a success? But the game of two Sydney sides had gate A open with long queues to enter.

    I remember the 2012 game at the Olympic Stadium. Nearly every family at Auskick had access to free tickets. In 2017 GWS home games get larger crowds than rugby league games. Free tickets to GWS games are not so easy to obtain.

    In 2013 at a fan forum Kevin Sheedy discussed the fact that GWS was happy for all fans to come to watch its games and that if they have two teams to follow, that’s okay. He expressed the hope that fans would eventually follow only GWS. Most GWS fans I know used to support another team. I still follow two teams.

    The boost to the broadcast rights allocated after the inclusion of GWS and Gold Coast well and truly covered any losses incurred by the two teams.

    If Tasmania had its own team, another would be required to prevent a weekly bye, but perhaps there is a way to test the waters before including a new state into the AFL fold.

    Why not add another team to AFLW? St Kilda, Geelong and North Melbourne want to be included, and Tasmania would make that group an even number. Yes, there are only two expansion slots for 2019, but we weren’t supposed to have AFLW until 2020. Rules can be broken.

    The addition of a fully-fledged Tasmanian AFL team would make the competition truly national. The time is now for the dream to become a reality.

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    The Crowd Says (109)

    • August 14th 2017 @ 6:23am
      Kane said | August 14th 2017 @ 6:23am | ! Report

      Send Gold Coast’s licence down there, they’ve been a waste of time and money.

      • August 14th 2017 @ 9:55am
        Hang on a minute said | August 14th 2017 @ 9:55am | ! Report

        Why not relocate North Melbourne? They are sponging off the rest of the Melbourne clubs. Geelong is forced to play home games in Melbourne to backfill their lacking of crowd pulling in their home town.

        Relocate the Kangaroos to Tasmania.

        Gold Coast have to stay in, they have a 600k and growing population to attract new supporters to our game and away from that cockroach sport.

        • August 14th 2017 @ 10:28am
          Reservoir Animal said | August 14th 2017 @ 10:28am | ! Report

          “Relocate the Kangaroos to Tasmania.”

          The ensuing court challenge would take years. I bet the Tasmanian public would love that.

    • Roar Guru

      August 14th 2017 @ 6:53am
      Cat said | August 14th 2017 @ 6:53am | ! Report

      No it is not. Not until Tasmania can provide a united and comprehensive plan. Also won’t happen until the state stops paying Hawthorn and NM to play there. I know both grounds have good quality AFL standard ground but are there full time training and admin facilities at either ground a new club could use?

      • August 14th 2017 @ 7:50am
        Nev said | August 14th 2017 @ 7:50am | ! Report

        Comprehensive plans have been put forward previously by state governments, Google for details.

        The reasons for no Tasmanian team are political not economic; the AFL executive is conflicted as their compensation is tied to increasing the value of TV deals, and a Tassie team is unlikely to increase viewer numbers.

        • August 14th 2017 @ 8:27am
          Birdman said | August 14th 2017 @ 8:27am | ! Report

          spot on Nev.

          • August 14th 2017 @ 9:39am
            Mattyb said | August 14th 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

            Why would someone think Tasmania havnt put forward detailed plans for a team?

        • August 14th 2017 @ 10:30am
          Reservoir Animal said | August 14th 2017 @ 10:30am | ! Report

          I don’t know if the comprehensive plan admitted that half of Tasmania would refuse to follow a team that plays in the state’s other geographic half. Or that once those considerations are made you’re left with a population of 250,000 which is about the same as Melbourne’s largest LGA.

          • August 14th 2017 @ 10:37am
            Birdman said | August 14th 2017 @ 10:37am | ! Report

            a Tasmania team would play out of Hobart and Launceston so I doubt your scenario is valid

            • August 14th 2017 @ 10:46am
              Reservoir Animal said | August 14th 2017 @ 10:46am | ! Report

              Good luck with that. The players still have to live and train somewhere and the club still needs an administrative base. Fans in the opposite half of the state will still feel dudded.

              • August 14th 2017 @ 12:18pm
                Birdman said | August 14th 2017 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

                as long as they get games in their locale, they’ll get on board

              • August 14th 2017 @ 12:40pm
                Reservoir Animal said | August 14th 2017 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

                They already have games in their locale. Hawthorn and North.

                If you live in Launceston, is there really that huge a difference between a 7-in-Melbourne-4-in-Launceston Hawthorn and a 6-in-Hobart-5-in-Launceston Tassie team?

              • August 14th 2017 @ 12:49pm
                Birdman said | August 14th 2017 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

                Launcestonians would be much more likely to travel south to see their Tassie team as would Hobartians travel north.

                My point is no-one would give a ‘rat’s tossbag’ (thanks Blighty) where the team trains or where the players live

              • August 14th 2017 @ 3:19pm
                Reservoir Animal said | August 14th 2017 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

                “My point is no-one would give a ‘rat’s tossbag’ (thanks Blighty) where the team trains or where the players live”

                Yes they would. That’s why North weren’t granted a fly-in-fly-out deal to play 11 games on the Gold Coast, or why South Melbourne players were forced to move to Sydney a year after they started playing there. The Launceston media would bag the cr@p out of any arrangement that takes their town’s people for mugs.

              • August 14th 2017 @ 10:20pm
                Nev said | August 14th 2017 @ 10:20pm | ! Report

                Both of Launceston’s journalists would be outraged!

        • August 16th 2017 @ 8:11pm
          Mark said | August 16th 2017 @ 8:11pm | ! Report

          That’s actually the definition of economic.

    • August 14th 2017 @ 8:01am
      AR said | August 14th 2017 @ 8:01am | ! Report

      First, the AFL (and Gil McLachlan specifically and Demetriou before him) have expressly and repeatedly said no to a Tas team. It’s a warm, nostalgic idea that has no commercial case in support of it.

      Second, Hawthorn are the only organisation that have genuinely invested time and money into Tasmanian football for 15+ years.

      They committed and recommitted to the Apple Isle before anyone else was interested, and now they have a genuine solidarity with their Tassie fan base. 9,000 Tas members is testament to that.

      It’s absurd to suggest that Govt money has. been wasted on propping up HawFC, because obviously, there would be no stadium upgrades if it wasn’t for Hawthorn games.

      Id say if you’re going to point a finger at a club, surely North have adopted the cynical approach. First flirting with Gold Coast, then Ballarat, nope, ok how bout Hobart?

      • August 14th 2017 @ 8:37am
        Birdman said | August 14th 2017 @ 8:37am | ! Report

        not sure why Caroline Wilson accused Hawthorn of not developing the state as expected. The AFL CEO made it clear to the State Govt that it didn’t want Hawthorn in the state (as it preferred North down here) nor did it want Hawthorn to develop its relationship beyond the north which Hawthorn was open to doing (2 games in Hobart and maybe 3 in Launceston).

        The Govt decided to have a bob each way with that in mind and with a hope that if both ends of the state supported AFL games then one day the AFL might grant a stand alone licence or at least re-brand an existing Vic team (guess who?).

        Hawthorn have done well out of the deal but have been hamstrung in doing more due to the deliberate shoe-horning of the Roos into Hobart by the AFL and the Govt (who BTW was then led by a North fan in David Barlett)

      • Roar Rookie

        August 14th 2017 @ 9:49am
        Lord Dunsborough of the MCC said | August 14th 2017 @ 9:49am | ! Report

        If we’re talking cynical, maybe we should discuss how your craven Box Hill mob fleeced punters of close to $20 million from poker machines last year. Some 28% of your total revenue.

        North on the other hand don’t have two pennies to rub together – they took a principled stand to not have pokies and have paid the price for years.

        The MCC just relies on the rock solid guarantor of old money.

        • August 14th 2017 @ 9:56am
          Birdman said | August 14th 2017 @ 9:56am | ! Report

          you of all people Lord Archie should know that civilisations aren’t remembered for how they made their wealth, just how they spent it.

          Personally not a fan of gambling but Tasmania’s new Minister for Economic Development, David (MONA) Walsh has done a hell of a lot of good with his gaming wealth.

        • August 14th 2017 @ 4:43pm
          DeanM said | August 14th 2017 @ 4:43pm | ! Report

          North had pokies but they just sucked at it and after failing at the venture tried to claim the moral high ground. If they ran a profitable pokies venue in the past they would have held onto it.

          • Roar Guru

            August 14th 2017 @ 5:33pm
            Cat said | August 14th 2017 @ 5:33pm | ! Report

            Geelong ran a profitable pokies venue but they’ve ditched them all.

            • August 14th 2017 @ 6:31pm
              Dier-ba-zor said | August 14th 2017 @ 6:31pm | ! Report


            • August 14th 2017 @ 6:37pm
              DeanM said | August 14th 2017 @ 6:37pm | ! Report

              Not true, they still have the pokies at their Point Cook venue. The ones at Symonds stadium did not return after the stadium upgrade.

              • Roar Guru

                August 14th 2017 @ 7:13pm
                Cat said | August 14th 2017 @ 7:13pm | ! Report

                Not for much longer.

                Chief executive Brian Cook now says a complete exit from the poker machine business and planned the sale of the club’s Point Cook gaming facility is on the cards.

              • August 14th 2017 @ 11:04pm
                DeanM said | August 14th 2017 @ 11:04pm | ! Report

                Yes I am aware that I was correct in saying Geelong Cats are still in the pokies business.

        • August 15th 2017 @ 8:44am
          AR said | August 15th 2017 @ 8:44am | ! Report


          First, the pokies money is not “my revenue”, it’s the revenue of the Hawthorn FC.

          Second, stick to the point. This discussion is about 1) the viability of a club in Tasmania and 2) whether any clubs have invested in Tasmania to date, thus giving it a ‘presence’ in the circumstances.

          By any real measure, the only club that has invested into Tassie is Hawthorn.

          Yet the author bizarrely singles them out for blame (without any mention of the basic commercial problems, the AFL’s historic role, or that any other club, such as North).

    • August 14th 2017 @ 8:26am
      Slane said | August 14th 2017 @ 8:26am | ! Report

      Cue 50 comments by people who have never been to Tazzie complaining about a ‘North/South divide’ and lack of sponsors.

    • August 14th 2017 @ 8:42am
      Birdman said | August 14th 2017 @ 8:42am | ! Report

      North and Tasmania will get a ‘joint’ licence for admission to the expanded AFLW – bookmark it. All part of the AFL plan to get the Roos relocated over time.

      • Roar Guru

        August 14th 2017 @ 8:44am
        Redb said | August 14th 2017 @ 8:44am | ! Report


        But I reckon Geelong and Essendon are looking good for new AFLW licences.

    • Roar Guru

      August 14th 2017 @ 8:43am
      Redb said | August 14th 2017 @ 8:43am | ! Report

      Further dilution of talent will only reduce the quality of the product. The comp and draft need to stablise. It’s been a good year for evenness probably the best ever, but its only 1 year. The player pool from NSW/QLD has not significantly increased yet to bring in more teams.

      It’s a no to Tassie, unless one of the small Melb clubs relocates.

      • August 14th 2017 @ 6:05pm
        Memphis said | August 14th 2017 @ 6:05pm | ! Report

        True but there are now 45 players from NSW, ACT and Qld on AFL lists so the new teams have helped over 30 years. 19 teams give an automatic bye each round but how that would factor in with the proposed wild card weekend would be an issue. A North/Tassie team playing 6 games in tassie a year (3 each) makes more sense. I guess a game in Devonport is out of the question. The ACT model of 3 GWS games is more circumspect.

      • August 15th 2017 @ 10:12am
        republican said | August 15th 2017 @ 10:12am | ! Report

        ……..I concur with you here Redb while Rugby Union and League certainly have suffered from expanding beyond the true status of respective codes.
        That said, there seems to be a double standard whereby some use this as a reason to not expand to Tassie or Canberra while indulging in a hard sell to expand off shore to NZ………..