Another announcement, another snub for footy in Tasmania

Tim Lane Columnist

By Tim Lane, Tim Lane is a Roar Expert

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    Gillon McLachlan says there's no chance of a Tasmanian AFL team in the near future (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

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    So, once again there’s no joy for Tasmania in its quest for AFL inclusion. Not that Tuesday’s anti-climactic announcement in Hobart came as a surprise.

    The official release made reference to an AFL link only in a commitment to provide “opportunity for Tasmanian’s (sic) participating in the game to have the best possible chance to be drafted into the AFL and AFLW”.

    Ignoring the errant apostrophe for a moment, this merely promises more of the state’s players to the AFL: the competition from which Tassie is excluded.

    As for the apostrophe, it’s a Freudian slip which speaks eloquently of a parent body that never had enough time for the smallest member of its family. Seems picky? Well, if this was a release considered genuinely important, it would have been sub-edited to within an inch of its life.

    In expanding to 18 teams almost a decade ago, the AFL painted itself into a corner and Tassie out of the script. And there’s no immediate way out, or in.

    As a result, the league continues to obfuscate, hoping the Tasmanian problem will go away as it always has done in the past. This time, though, there’s no certainty it will. The anger of Tasmanians has been building, and now their hopes have been deflated.

    One notable change brought about by their long-time football isolation is that Tasmanians have begun asserting themselves. No longer are they accepting of their treatment, or of the sense that they don’t really belong, or that they aren’t good enough.

    They’re finding voice, to the point where even the state’s two major ‘dailies’, Hobart’s Mercury and Launceston’s Examiner, are discovering common ground.

    While the journal of the north will continue to champion Hawthorn’s involvement at their end of the state – a point of community pride given the Hawks’ achievements of recent years – there’s now recognition that Tasmanians are entitled to aspire to a higher form a football life.

    The Mercury, meanwhile, has been campaigning hard on behalf of the state’s AFL aspiration. Despite these being tough times for newspapers, words on paper still pack punch in shaping public opinion. Particularly on emotive issues like football. And like a state feeling overlooked and rejected. And like the people being treated with disregard.

    In offering a renewal of Tasmania’s involvement in the TAC Cup and the VFL, the AFL has merely thrown crumbs. It is selling its new blueprint on the basis that it invites unity from the state’s footy fans. Yet, clearly, it will have no such impact. There is nothing in this package for Tasmanian football fans.

    It could even be argued that it reduces the game’s value for those in Tasmania who want to go to well-attended games or follow a local team’s fortunes each week.

    With the very best of the state’s talent being drafted, the best juniors being placed in a re-born TAC Cup Mariners team, and the best seniors playing VFL, the state league will function without the top three layers of talent. The idea that this could make for a better local football environment, one sufficiently vibrant to carry the state into the AFL, defies logic.

    So, if the state league doesn’t do it for fans, might possible inclusion of a state team in the VFL sprinkle the magic dust? Well, ask yourself this: is the chance of seeing your state demeaned to the point of playing in Victoria’s state league, effectively AFL seconds, likely to be a source of uplift and unity?

    In a practical sense, only half the games would be played in Tasmania and to have any unifying effect these would need to be shared between north, south, and perhaps even north west. So, who would regularly drive 2-3 hours to watch second-tier games? The likelihood of this sparking the critical mass of interest to somehow re-invigorate Tasmanian football is perilously close to zero.

    What the AFL turns a convenient blind eye to in delivering such a blueprint is that it’s the thrill of being part of big crowds, whether unified or divided in their loyalties, that makes spectator sport what it is. Only a Tasmanian AFL team can provide this for the state. The people instinctively know it. And they know when they’re being conned.

    Tuesday’s package is quintessential AFL. It does nothing that challenges itself. It seeks to make itself appear as a benefactor. And it does it all under the cover of a committee composed of names designed to buffer its findings from criticism.

    Nick Riewoldt, Chris Fagan, and Brendon Bolton have all spoken passionately of their belief that Tasmania should have a team in the AFL. Yet, now they’ve had their authority put to a plan which offers little or nothing. What’s more, it’s setting up their state to fail.

    While wanting to resist the temptation to be instinctively negative, the only unity I see coming from this is that it will galvanise Tasmanians to even greater anger.

    Tim Lane
    Tim Lane

    Tim Lane is one of the most respected voices in Australian sport, having gained a strong following for his weekly AFL column in The Age. Tim has also called 32 AFL/VFL grand finals and was behind the microphone for Cathy Freeman's memorable gold medal at the Sydney Olympics. You can catch him on Twitter @TimLaneSport.

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    The Crowd Says (154)

    • July 5th 2018 @ 6:11am
      Jon Kau said | July 5th 2018 @ 6:11am | ! Report

      Two things I’d like to see:

      A Tassie/NT team replacing GC and GWS, or better yet, those two teams removed, plus another 2 in Vic to bring it back to 16.

      Or

      A rebel AFL league that is more “Australian” than Victoria. None of these will ever happen, but I can hope 🙂

      • July 5th 2018 @ 9:51am
        Tom M said | July 5th 2018 @ 9:51am | ! Report

        Worst 2 ideas I’ve ever heard. Northern Territory does not have the concentrated population to support its own team and a second team in Sydney will be a success no doubt about it.
        One thing should happen, the Gold Coast should be moved to Tasmania, be based in Hobart but play half its home games in Launceston. Should get 15k min at every home game. Every professional sports team based on the Gold Coast has been nothing more than a catastrophic failure. If Rugby league cant succeed why did the AFL even try. Time to cut its losses and move the team before more money and young players careers are ruined.

      • July 5th 2018 @ 1:07pm
        Jungle Jim said | July 5th 2018 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

        Well that’s a totally flawed idea or dream – a further entrenchment of Vic-centric ‘national’ football code.
        Since we’re in the zone of pipe-dreams, lets grant Tassie a team and a team or two in the Territory,
        that would total = approx 10 teams. Then they could all secede from the National ‘Victorian’ game
        and play a truly national code while Victoria could go and f*** itself – that’s about as rational as anything I’ve heard from the AFL! ((;

        • Roar Rookie

          July 5th 2018 @ 3:04pm
          Pedro The Fisherman said | July 5th 2018 @ 3:04pm | ! Report

          I like your thinking Jungle ,,, especially the last sentence.

          • July 8th 2018 @ 9:27pm
            Pelican said | July 8th 2018 @ 9:27pm | ! Report

            Or they could bring in the Tassy Devils to make 19 teams and split the Crows license into Norwood and Glenelg. 😉

    • July 5th 2018 @ 6:35am
      Chet said | July 5th 2018 @ 6:35am | ! Report

      The population is just too small to support a team.

      Plus your article points out the other issue – you can’t have games being played in three different regions of a tiny population – the costs to keep three grounds to AFL standard in such a tiny market make absolutely no sense – even SA and WA are only maintaining one AFL standard ground.

      Ultimately broadcasters and advertisers don’t care about Tasmania.The market is so tiny it’s barely worth bothering with. So the equation is all increases in costs, with little benefit (if anything at all) in terms of revenue.

      Plus of course the standard of the game is already suffering from an overstretched talent pool, so a Tassie team either means robbing another more lucrative market of it’s team or further lowering the standards of the game – both of which reduce the value of broadcast rights and marketing revenue.

      • July 5th 2018 @ 6:55am
        IAP said | July 5th 2018 @ 6:55am | ! Report

        Your comment reflects the fundamental problem with the way the AFL is run at the moment – a focus solely on markets and generating revenue. The game is more than just collecting money for the executives big fat bonuses. Even if markets and revenue were considered, the Gold Coast team is a big fat fail; any private business would have stopped throwing good money after bad by now.
        No, the AFL is meant to look after the health of the game, and that includes the current supporter base. They should aim to build a competition that reflects the wishes of the people who actually own it; the people. And the people want a team in Tasmania.
        As far as the talent pool goes, they don’t need to change anything other than to shift the failed Gold Coast team to Tasmania. They already have a stadium in Hobart and a stadium in Launceston that are at AFL standard; they could split the home games between the two.
        The sad thing about this, I suspect, is that it has nothing to do with talent pools, suitable stadiums or even money. The Gold Coast Suns could move to Tasmania for next season with very minimal outlay and no interruption to the competition; it would be easy. The AFL just never admit that they are wrong. They’d rather throw money down the drain than admit that the Gold Coast experiment didn’t work. Saving face is more important to them than integrity and the good of the game. There are many, many examples of this.

        • Roar Guru

          July 5th 2018 @ 8:44am
          Cat said | July 5th 2018 @ 8:44am | ! Report

          What training facilities would they use? What admin facilities would they use? AFAIK neither ground has anything approaching AFL standard (why would they? There is no need at this point). Should a team just be relocated there and work out of sheds like GC did or maybe wait a decade or more for government money to build the facilities like Brisbane has had to? Both situations have worked out so well before so lets do it again!

          Also seeing as GC only gets 7 years before you want to move them, would Tassie get just as short a leash to turn a profit and become self sufficient? Should we apply that same criteria to long-term welfare clubs like Western and St Kilda?

          • Roar Guru

            July 5th 2018 @ 9:29am
            JamesH said | July 5th 2018 @ 9:29am | ! Report

            ‘AFAIK’…. There’s your problem, Cat.

            Those who actually DO know will tell you that Bellerive Oval’s training and corporate facilities underwent a significant upgrade several years back. There is a large indoor training area for cricket that is easily big enough for smaller footy drills, plus a modern gym. Cricket Tasmania got a suite of brand new offices and meeting spaces.

            These facilities alone would still be better than what a few current clubs have and any desired upgrade would only require a relatively small outlay – one the State government would be itching to provide in support of an AFL side. The notion that this could be used as a reason not to have a Tasmanian side is utterly farcical.

            The one fair point you raise is that 7 years is not a long time for a side to establish itself. The problem facing GC is that those 7 years have produced far less than the AFL would have hoped. The list is nowhere near finals standard, key players keep escaping to traditional footy states, membership is not where they planned it would be and the club is already on its third coach. GC’s existence has also had an undeniably negative impact on the level support the Lions receive from the AFL (which is disappointingly low).

            Junior participation has definitely grown in the region and that’s a major plus. The question is whether or not the club can genuinely exist long enough for that growth to bear fruit.

            • July 5th 2018 @ 1:59pm
              Birdman said | July 5th 2018 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

              Well said, James.

              Tassie already has two AFL standard stadia in York Park and Bellerive.

              • Roar Guru

                July 5th 2018 @ 3:02pm
                Cat said | July 5th 2018 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

                I never questioned the pitch itself. You should well know there is more to a footy club than a ground to play at.

      • July 5th 2018 @ 6:56am
        Bee bee said | July 5th 2018 @ 6:56am | ! Report

        Sport is about more than marketing.

        They already play AFL games in Tasmania so clearly they meet the standards required.

        Your larger markets may have more people but they clearly don’t care about AFL. An NT vs Tasmania game would have less people but ten times more atmosphere than a GWS v GC game.

        Revenue???? Just how much revenue is GWS /GC generated? Look it up.

        • July 5th 2018 @ 12:18pm
          Chet said | July 5th 2018 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

          Perhaps you should take note of the latest record rights deal – that’s where the GWS and GC teams have brought money in – by giving advertisers access to the 2 fastest growing regions in the country.

          AFL games may be played there but they were also played at Carrara – the AFL had to spend millions bringing it up to the standards needed to support a full time team.

          • Roar Pro

            July 5th 2018 @ 1:29pm
            anon said | July 5th 2018 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

            Media rights fees aren’t generated on reach but actual numbers generated.

            The AFL show games every in Asia through Australia Network. Potential reach of 3-4 billion people.

            I bet the AFL give those games away to Australian Network for free.

            Why? No-one watches it.

            Ratings in the northern states are dire. Attendances (apart from Swans games) the same. The Suns and Giants have been propped up with hundreds of millions of dollars and will require hundreds of millions more over the coming decade.

            The media rights would actually be worth more with 3rd teams in WA and SA because ratings for games involving those teams would be far higher than those involving GWS and the Suns.

            The argument that GWS and Suns pay for themselves through the 9th game is poorly reasoned and doesn’t hold up to the slightest amount of scrutiny. The public just take it as face value.

            • July 5th 2018 @ 1:53pm
              Christo the Daddyo said | July 5th 2018 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

              “The Suns and Giants have been propped up with hundreds of millions of dollars”

              Got a source for this?

              • July 5th 2018 @ 2:01pm
                Birdman said | July 5th 2018 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

                AFL regularly admit they burn millions to shoreu up the 2 franchises. It’s not a state secret.

              • July 5th 2018 @ 3:07pm
                Christo the Daddyo said | July 5th 2018 @ 3:07pm | ! Report

                So we’ve gone from “hundreds of millions” down to “millions”. That didn’t take long…

              • Roar Pro

                July 5th 2018 @ 4:39pm
                anon said | July 5th 2018 @ 4:39pm | ! Report

                Been discussed many times.

                Hundreds of millions have been spent on setting up and propping up these teams with nothing to show for it.

              • Roar Guru

                July 5th 2018 @ 7:29pm
                Dalgety Carrington said | July 5th 2018 @ 7:29pm | ! Report

                There’s plenty to show for it in terms of sponsors etc. The media rights deal would be aimed at ensuring there was as wide a geographical spread as possible from the media companies. The northern states are always going to be a longer-term deal, for fruition but there is a much larger latent market up there and there is more money coming in as a result of the greater presence up there.

              • July 6th 2018 @ 7:17am
                concerned supporter said | July 6th 2018 @ 7:17am | ! Report

                2016 PAYMENTS TO CLUBS

                1. GWS Giants $21,548,374

                2. St Kilda $18,566,589

                3. Western Bulldogs $17,610,181

                4. Brisbane Lions $17,532,922

                5. Gold Coast Suns $17,194,594

                6. North Melbourne $15,022,303

                7. Melbourne $14,799,452

                8. Port Adelaide $13,206,665

                9. Sydney Swans $12,488,957

                10. Richmond $12,358,925

                11. Essendon $11,914,715

                12. West Coast Eagles $11,703,240

                13. Hawthorn $11,614,683

                14. Carlton $11,607,942

                15. Collingwood $11,304,689

                16. Geelong Cats $10,787,483

                17. Fremantle Dockers $10,563,307

                18. Adelaide Crows $10,553,565

                *All clubs received an $8.188 million base payment and a $1.2 million bonus payment.

              • Roar Guru

                July 6th 2018 @ 7:40am
                Cat said | July 6th 2018 @ 7:40am | ! Report

                WOW!!!! A whole whopping $3m more than a 141-year-old club. Multiply that by their 6 years in existence and that a mind-boggling whole $18m extra!!!!!!!!!

                For the dense people on this forum that was laced with a heavy dose of sarcasm.

              • July 6th 2018 @ 3:59pm
                Lroy said | July 6th 2018 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

                10 million each for ten years. All on public record.

      • July 5th 2018 @ 7:00am
        Geoff Dustby said | July 5th 2018 @ 7:00am | ! Report

        please explain to me how 500k Tasmanians who foolow the game is too small but 2 million West Sydney people who dont and will never care for the game makes sense? unless you think you can somehow convert them? Good luck with that.
        Please enlighten us with these more lucrative markets that the AFL should aim at? i heard we are big in Shanghai

        • Roar Guru

          July 5th 2018 @ 8:34am
          Cat said | July 5th 2018 @ 8:34am | ! Report

          First, stop assuming every Tasman follows AFL – they don’t. Second, population density.

          How much do you think TV ad rates are in Sydney versus Tasmania? Why does it matter you ask? It matters because that is what dictates, in large part, what the media rights are worth. No matter how much you want to exaggerate how much GC and GWS cost, the increase seen in the current media deal due to the expansion sides has it covered. Tasmania will cost as much, if not more to sustain but will not return anywhere near as much in media rights.

          We’ve been hearing for years now how soccer is taking over Tasmania and that AFL better hurry up and get a ‘real’ team in there before A-League beats them to it. Tasmania didn’t even make the A-League shortlist of 10 for their upcoming expansion. Even they don’t see commercial potential there.

          • Roar Guru

            July 5th 2018 @ 9:35am
            JamesH said | July 5th 2018 @ 9:35am | ! Report

            Nobody seriously thinks soccer is taking over Tasmania, Cat. That was all a bit of huff and puff to get the AFL to act, or at least spark interest from the FFA. Junior participatoin in soccer is high, but then it always will be because it’s a kid-friendly winter sport.

            Tassie is a footy and (to a lesser extent) cricket heartland, with a healthy interest in soccer, hockey, netball and basketball.

          • July 5th 2018 @ 10:20am
            IAP said | July 5th 2018 @ 10:20am | ! Report

            Only about 200,000 people live in Geelong. Let’s move Geelong footy club to Tasmania; it’s a bigger market, and that’s all that matters.

            • July 5th 2018 @ 2:02pm
              Birdman said | July 5th 2018 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

              Ditto.

              Not your best work, Cat.

              • Roar Guru

                July 5th 2018 @ 2:10pm
                Cat said | July 5th 2018 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

                Geelong = 200 people per square kilometer
                Tasmania = 7.6 people per square kilometer

              • July 5th 2018 @ 6:22pm
                Swampy said | July 5th 2018 @ 6:22pm | ! Report

                Hey cat – you know one of your major sponsors is the Tassie government. Without our dollars you might not have afforded a couple of key recruits in the past few years.

                And we pretty much all follow footy here. It’s no.1 by a mile. As rabid as Victoria. It would basically be an identical model to Geelong. Small population drawing on regional areas (Ballarat, Warnambool, surf Coast, Hamilton, Horsham etc) for additional support.

                And just like Geelong we’d be able to hide a few gun recruits (Tom Stewart anyone) in the local leagues.

              • July 5th 2018 @ 2:26pm
                IAP said | July 5th 2018 @ 2:26pm | ! Report

                There’s 200,000 people in Hobart, plus another 300,000 within a 3 hour drive of Hobart. Population density…

              • July 5th 2018 @ 8:41pm
                Slane said | July 5th 2018 @ 8:41pm | ! Report

                It seems kind of intellectually dishonest to compare the population density of one city to that of an entire state.

              • Roar Guru

                July 6th 2018 @ 7:46am
                Cat said | July 6th 2018 @ 7:46am | ! Report

                Swampy – Tom Stewart wasn’t ‘hidden’. He was there for anyone to find. Matty Scarlett found him, coached him, brought him to Steven Wells attention and convinced the club to sign him to the VFL side. From there the rest was Tom proving himself.

                Slane – While the bid is being labelled as something for the entire state, the entire state is the relevant metric. The bid isn’t being driven by a single city so one cannot isolate a city centre as the driving metric.

          • July 5th 2018 @ 12:51pm
            Geoff Dustby said | July 5th 2018 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

            how many people actually watch GWS in sydney on TV?

      • July 5th 2018 @ 8:08am
        Don Freo said | July 5th 2018 @ 8:08am | ! Report

        Where are the “3” regional centres? There are only 2 and both already have fully maintained AFL standard grounds. That’s why they play AFL games there.

        As for the player pool, I suspect you may not have read all of Tim’s article.

        • July 5th 2018 @ 12:14pm
          Chet said | July 5th 2018 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

          Actually Tim mentioned games would have to be played in three centres – perhaps you should read his article fully before accusing others 😉

          • July 5th 2018 @ 4:25pm
            Don Freo said | July 5th 2018 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

            .. and the 3 are?

            C’mon, try harder. Only really Hobart and Launceston. Are you counting the MCG?

      • July 5th 2018 @ 8:15am
        Thatsashame said | July 5th 2018 @ 8:15am | ! Report

        That’s not true Chet. How many do you need to attend games to be successful? Evidently it’s only 7000 or 8000 according to western Sydney and gold coast. If tassy has their own team they’ll get 10s of thousands to every game. The afl are happy to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on teams in areas where no one gives a damn about afl ago a yet they refuse to spend a cent in a state that are afl mad. The afl afl is a disgrace.

        • July 5th 2018 @ 12:13pm
          Chet said | July 5th 2018 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

          The money spent on GWS and GC has already been made back in the rights deal – western sydney and the gold coast are two if the fastest growing areas in the country, and they are places advertisers will pay very good money for ad spots.

          The same cannot be said for Tasmania.

          If they had fantastic sold out games every time the AFL played down there Tas would already have a team (as would Canberra by the way, but again the numbers don’t stack up).

          • July 5th 2018 @ 12:50pm
            Alchemist said | July 5th 2018 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

            What a ridiculous argument. So Tasmanians are supposed to flock to the footy 6 times a year simply because its footy? Doesn’t matter that they may not support either of the teams playing? Not to mention the fact that the opposing team is usually a team that wouldn’t even draw a crowd in Melbourne let alone Tassie. I believe the crowds would flock in if they had their own team to support.

          • July 5th 2018 @ 12:56pm
            Geoff Dustby said | July 5th 2018 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

            its interesting that advertisers pay big bucks for no one in the west of sydney to watch afl on tv, Chet?
            doesnt sound like good business practice

    • Roar Guru

      July 5th 2018 @ 7:18am
      Paul Dawson said | July 5th 2018 @ 7:18am | ! Report

      I know you’re from Tassie and have been writing about this for some years now – but it’s funny that you keep insisting the games have to be spread between Hobart, Launceston etc when no other state makes this insistence

      The only way Tassie is ever going to get a side is if you can present a united front – at some point Tasmanians are going to have to realise what they want more, an ongoing divide between north and south or their own team.

      It’s not the AFL’s job to adjudicate on these childish turf wars – you’d have to get a bid locked in with say 9 games for Hobart, 2 for Launceston. People own cars and can make the travel if they don’t live in either of those two cities.

      Frankly every time I read articles on this subject I am struck by the insularity down there and wonder how in the hell a state can collectively be so unaware of how money and power actually works. It’s like you just expect the AFL to come in and accomodate all of your grabbag of demands just because heartland or something – it’s bordering on delusional

      Up to you whether you wanna stick the thumb in your mouth and sink the VFL team through disinterest but I don’t think a VFL team that draws no crowds is going to convince the AFL a fully fledged AFL side is a good idea, no matter how many assurances you give that things would be different if you had an AFL side

      Look at your state cricket team. They only play at Bellerive oval as far as I’m aware. Why aren’t the people of Launceston manning the barricades on that one

      • Roar Guru

        July 5th 2018 @ 9:42am
        JamesH said | July 5th 2018 @ 9:42am | ! Report

        Tassie does play the occasional home cricket match outside of Hobart.

        But you’re right about the united front, and I think most Launcestonians would know they aren’t going to get more than 2-3 matches a season. But that’s all they’re getting from the Hawks anyway. Devonport or Burnie would be good locations for pre-season games, consistent with the AFL’s position on playing those matches outside of the main centres.

        The State will support a VFL team; just not to the same extent because even though it’s a start, it still feels like a token gesture to shut us up and make the issue go away for a while.

      • July 5th 2018 @ 12:51pm
        Leighton said | July 5th 2018 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

        Bang on Paul. The Tasmanian AFL team dream will remain just that. It’s cargo cult stuff.
        Somewhat unfair perspective, but insightful.
        https://www.canberratimes.com.au/public-service/insular-tasmania-should-aim-far-higher-than-local-20180330-h0y5xz.html

        • Roar Guru

          July 5th 2018 @ 1:38pm
          JamesH said | July 5th 2018 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

          That article is hot garbage. A cynical piece of poorly researched, cherry-picked ‘facts’ that don’t accurately reflect the attitude of the majority of Tasmanians, written by someone in Canberra, of all places.

          Tasmania has its challenges (including, apparently, convincing a lot of uninformed naysayers who don’t want Tasmania to have an AFL team yet struggle to supply genuinely informed reasoning) but most Tasmanians welcome the broadening of the economy and mainland investment.

          The Hobart mayor – who only fell into the job when his predecessor got elected to Parliament – recently went on the offensive against David Walsh, suggesting that HCC would consider withdrawing funding for Dark Mofo. Apparently he thought he was onto a winner since, y’know, us backwards Tasmanians hate all these mainlanders coming down and clogging up our State. He has been absolutely smashed on social media and will be laughed out of office next election.

      • July 5th 2018 @ 8:24pm
        Troy said | July 5th 2018 @ 8:24pm | ! Report

        It never ceases to amaze me how people who don’t live in Tasmania understand it so well that they feel they can aggressively express their opinions. I’m a tasmanian by choice, having moved here 6 years ago and would never presume that I speak for all tasmanians, as it’s a pretty diverse state and I’m sure that there are lots of contrary views on what the best path forward for tasmanian afl is.

        It’s true that no other team is split between two venues. But no other state has a population distribution like tasmania. It’s not like victoria where 80% of the state live in melbourne. less than 45% of the population lives in hobart, with nearly half the state distributed between launceston, devonport and burnie. Yes, we have cars, but burnie to hobart is a four hour trip. even launceston to hobart is 2 and half hours. I’m sure regional Victorians understand how hard it would be to attend matches if they were all played out of one venue.

        In my personal opinion, as someone who lives in Launceston, I’d be happy if we kept the four games a year we get now with the rest going to Hobart. I’m sure many locals would disagree with me however. If there is infrastructure to support matches in devonport and burnie, then I think that pre-season matches would be the way to go. I’ve got no strong opinion on a VFL side – it’s a step towards progress I guess – but I’m actually really excited about the AFLW franchise, which I presume will be based out of Hobart.

        At the end of the day, I’d just ask you be a bit more respectful when you present your assumptions about the way tasmanians think about an AFL side.

        P.S.I’m actually a much bigger cricket tragic than AFL fan, and it pains me to not be able to get to many cricket matches, but I respect the historical precedent of cricket being played out of Hobart.

        • July 5th 2018 @ 10:00pm
          Birdman said | July 5th 2018 @ 10:00pm | ! Report

          good comment Troy.

          BTW As a Hobartian and Hawks supporter I’m happy to give up the cricket if you want to send the Hawks south

    • July 5th 2018 @ 7:47am
      Tauranga boy said | July 5th 2018 @ 7:47am | ! Report

      I thought they don’t want a team.

    • Roar Guru

      July 5th 2018 @ 8:11am
      Dalgety Carrington said | July 5th 2018 @ 8:11am | ! Report

      Let’s just see how they go with a VFL team first.

      I don’t think popularist campaigns in newspapers is any sort of evidence for intelligent decision making, unless you’re only interested in trying to garner votes. There is a clue however, in the fact the two major newspapers in Tassie are located in two different cities. Tassie has the double whammy of a small population, further dispersed by geographical divide.

      • Roar Guru

        July 5th 2018 @ 8:25am
        Cat said | July 5th 2018 @ 8:25am | ! Report

        Even if the divide wasn’t there Tassie is still dispersed over a much larger geographical area than any other existing AFL area. People like to compare the populations of Tassie and Geelong, what they fail to account for is the land mass that population is spread over (200 vs. 7.8 people/km^2).

        • July 5th 2018 @ 10:24am
          IAP said | July 5th 2018 @ 10:24am | ! Report

          There’s 200,000 people in Hobart. Let’s have a Hobart team. Do you think that everyone who goes to an AFL game lives in the city that it’s played in? I’ll give you the answer – no. Lots of people drive several hours to go to the footy; it’d be no different in Tasmania.

          • July 5th 2018 @ 12:24pm
            Chet said | July 5th 2018 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

            And how many of those 200,000 actually follow AFL? And of those that do, how many would actually be interested enough to go to a match?

            Victoria is AFL mad but only a smal proportion of the overall population actually goes to games.

            • July 5th 2018 @ 2:29pm
              IAP said | July 5th 2018 @ 2:29pm | ! Report

              Probably about the same amount, proportionately, that live in Geelong. Plus there’s all the Tasmanians that live around the rest of the state and the mainland.
              If Tasmania doesn’t stack up population wise, then Geelong certainly doesn’t either.

              • Roar Guru

                July 5th 2018 @ 7:24pm
                Dalgety Carrington said | July 5th 2018 @ 7:24pm | ! Report

                More geographically dispersed population and, on the face of it, with less immediate allegiances to it as a single geographical community than Geelong.

              • July 6th 2018 @ 5:27am
                Slane said | July 6th 2018 @ 5:27am | ! Report

                It’d be hard to make a less accurate statement. Hobart is a city of 200 thousand people. They aren’t geographically diverse. They all live in the same city. You have absolutely no evidence that Tasmanians wouldn’t get behind their team and all past incedents of introducing a new team into a heartland area would suggest the exact opposite. People will readily get behind a newly introduced state team.

          • July 5th 2018 @ 4:02pm
            bilo said | July 5th 2018 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

            200,000 pfft…Canberra has a bigger population

            • July 5th 2018 @ 8:31pm
              Birdman said | July 5th 2018 @ 8:31pm | ! Report

              doesn’t have the same cultural connection to footy – more likely to get an A-League licence

    • Roar Guru

      July 5th 2018 @ 8:33am
      mds1970 said | July 5th 2018 @ 8:33am | ! Report

      It’s one thing to say “There should be a Tasmania team”. It’s another to say “If a Tasmania team comes in, I will support them. I will be a Tasmania supporter”.
      Most people in Tasmania already have an AFL team. Would they switch allegiances? The AFL doesn’t think they will. And even if they did, it’s a loss for their previous club so no net gain for the game.
      The Giants & Suns, because of where they are, have the potential to bring new people into the game. I can’t answer for Gold Coast, but the Giants are slowly but surely doing that.

      I’m not opposed to a Tassie team. And the initiatives this week could be laying a foundation for that.

      • Roar Guru

        July 5th 2018 @ 8:39am
        Cat said | July 5th 2018 @ 8:39am | ! Report

        People do like to ignore that to add a Tassie AFL team the AFL first has to deal significant blows to two existing sides.

        • July 5th 2018 @ 10:27am
          IAP said | July 5th 2018 @ 10:27am | ! Report

          Most people are happy to deal with that problem by getting rid of the plastic teams. You only need to get rid of one too, or shift it. I could manage a shift of GC to Tassie by next season by myself; that’s how easy it would be.

          • July 5th 2018 @ 11:01am
            Tom M said | July 5th 2018 @ 11:01am | ! Report

            Agree IAP. Cut the losses of the Gold Coast and just move the team. There’s adequate facilities to play out of and these can be built on over the years. The AFL would have to pay out a few existing contracts/debts to the Queensland government first but it would be worth it for the good of the game.

            • Roar Guru

              July 5th 2018 @ 7:30pm
              Dalgety Carrington said | July 5th 2018 @ 7:30pm | ! Report

              They would only be actual losses, rather than investment, if they were to lose their bottle and pull the pin.

          • July 5th 2018 @ 11:43am
            Jon Boy said | July 5th 2018 @ 11:43am | ! Report

            Sending Gold Coast to Tassie is a good idea but think of the poor players climate wise.WA teams maintain 90% of there Vic and Tassie recruits because they get out of Melbourne’s crap weather and congested hole of a place ask anyone Sam Mitchell, Lyon and Simpson just a couple who have expressed it is a way better place from where they come from.

            • July 5th 2018 @ 12:17pm
              Reservoir Animal said | July 5th 2018 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

              Come on John, any chance of WA introducing 21st century trading hours before the year 2100? Not even 7-11 and their pittance wage policies consider the place to be profitable.

              • July 5th 2018 @ 1:10pm
                Jon Boy said | July 5th 2018 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

                C’mon Res. we can manage our own Footy teams in WA and pay money to the AFL to help Bankrupt teams in Melbourne…….More Fairness ! If they cannot pay their own way they should be kicked out ??

              • Roar Guru

                July 5th 2018 @ 1:24pm
                Cat said | July 5th 2018 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

                Nobody forced WA to join.

              • July 5th 2018 @ 5:41pm
                Don Freo said | July 5th 2018 @ 5:41pm | ! Report

                There’s a strange leap in thought sequence.

                When Jonboy out thinks you, Cat, you are in trouble.

              • July 5th 2018 @ 8:32pm
                Birdman said | July 5th 2018 @ 8:32pm | ! Report

                Cat, r u ok?

                you’re having a mare today.

      • Roar Guru

        July 5th 2018 @ 9:49am
        JamesH said | July 5th 2018 @ 9:49am | ! Report

        Switching allegiances clearly wasn’t an issue in Adelaide. I was in late/primary school/early high school in Adelaide from 94-96 (only a few years after the Crows joined in 91) and my mates were all Crows-mad.

        I’m not 100% sure I would switch my allegiange from Essendon but I would absolutely buy a membership and go to games, and I would encourage my kids to support their local team.

        • July 5th 2018 @ 10:23am
          JohnB said | July 5th 2018 @ 10:23am | ! Report

          “Team introduced from your state” is about the only exception Titus O’Reilly allows to the “never change your AFL allegiance” rule, for what they may be worth.

        • Roar Rookie

          July 5th 2018 @ 10:28am
          Pedro The Fisherman said | July 5th 2018 @ 10:28am | ! Report

          A lot of South Australians didn’t give a rats toss bag about the expanded VFL (lets call it the AFL shall we) in those days. Many South Australians didn’t follow an AFL team at all and if they did that AFL side played second fiddle to their SANFL Club. Most (but not all) jumped at the chance to have a South Australian team to follow in what promised to be a true and fair national competition (how wrong we all were about that element).

      • July 5th 2018 @ 10:26am
        IAP said | July 5th 2018 @ 10:26am | ! Report

        The AFL doesn’t care if people will switch allegiances, all it cares about is growth, growth, growth. They’re capitalists in a a socialist sport.

        • July 7th 2018 @ 7:50pm
          Bee bee said | July 7th 2018 @ 7:50pm | ! Report

          Capatalist dictators in a socialist land. Is this why playing games in China makes sense.

      • July 5th 2018 @ 12:54pm
        Alchemist said | July 5th 2018 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

        They did in WA and SA. Why not Tassie?

        • Roar Guru

          July 5th 2018 @ 4:54pm
          Dalgety Carrington said | July 5th 2018 @ 4:54pm | ! Report

          There was still a healthy portion of footy supporters in WA who stuck with their original team that they started supporting through watching the weekly highlights packages (and actually were especially antagonistic towards the WC). You imagine this would also happen with Tassie, particularly given how much stuff there is to rust on a supporter to their current AFL club.

          • July 5th 2018 @ 7:35pm
            Joe B J said | July 5th 2018 @ 7:35pm | ! Report

            Sandgropers followed the WAFL, and jumped on board WCE when they started… and more jumped on board (or defected to) Freo when they started. There was minimal interest in VFL teams, it existed because it was cheap broadcast content they pumped over here. I was raised on East Perth Royals, 3 generations of supporters… youngsters are WC and Freo though, which is fair enough.
            Tassie folk would jump onboard an AFL team, need to keep the new expansion markets though. Either remove a Melbourne team, or merge 2 Melbourne teams… frees up a space for Tassie without thinning the talent pool.

            • Roar Guru

              July 5th 2018 @ 7:43pm
              Dalgety Carrington said | July 5th 2018 @ 7:43pm | ! Report

              The point being there’ll be a percentage who will still with their current teams, even if it’s a small proportion, it still dilutes an already small potential supporter base. There are plenty of people in WA who support teams with no actual links to the Melbourne suburb (let alone Melbourne or Victoria) that support Hawthorn, Carlton, Collingwood or whoever and just stuck with them because they were more successful at the time or had a lot of contingent success.

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