2020 will be 30 years since the beginning of the AFL era and it’s still not a fully national competition. Tasmania, the Northern Territory and Canberra still do not have their own teams.
Of course there are varying factors that are preventing this.
However, if the AFL can start two new teams like GWS and Gold Coast surely there is a strong enough argument and population for Tasmanian, Northern Territory and Canberra teams.
The AFL is the biggest sport in the nation by quite a margin. The women’s competition has even reached out to the NT. So, in my opinion, it’s a matter of ‘where there is a will there is a way.’
I am an avid West Coast Eagles fan but I would be so excited to see teams from Tasmania, the NT and Canberra to make the number of teams to 20.
Of course, this would mean one existing team relocating – there are still too many Victorian teams that I don’t think can be supported financially. So, one more team must relocate, much as happend with South Melbourne and Fitzroy.
Tasmania should have its own team of course, and I don’t see why the Northern Territory Thunder cannot make a case for coming into the national competition.
Canberra is not too far away from Melbourne to facilitate a successful relocation of a Melbourne team that the supporters can still follow. No one wants to move, but I think that the St Kilda Saints and North Melbourne Kangaroos would be the prime candidates.
Many will disagree of course and cite the various barriers between the dream of a truly national competition and reality.
But, becoming the first truly national sport in the country would be a great achievement and would certainly help the AFL in all sorts of ways especially financially and culturally.
Roll on Tassie Devils, NT Thunder and Canberra Saints or Roos.