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Tassie turns out for Hawks and Bombers rivalry

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20th June, 2021
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It was a capacity crowd for two traditional AFL rivals. And perhaps a reminder for the game’s powerbrokers that the appetite for top-level footy in Tasmania is strong.

Sunday’s clash between Hawthorn and Essendon at Launceston’s University of Tasmania Stadium attracted 14,834 people – essentially a full house under coronavirus capacity restrictions.

The game sold out in hours last week after it was announced the fixture was being shifted from Melbourne.

The crowd was the largest in Round 14, albeit in a truncated weekend with crowd limits in place in various states.

“Great scenes out of…Launceston Tasmania. Full house, great atmosphere. People who know and love their footy!,” Richmond boss Brendon Gale posted on Twitter.

It was the first match Essendon had played for premiership points in Tasmania since 1992, with the red and black of their supporters outnumbering the “home” colours of Hawthorn.

The match was the second of two shifted to the Apple Isle at the weekend, with 5077 people turning out at Hobart’s Blundstone Arena to watch North Melbourne play Brisbane on Saturday.

Many eyes are on the state of the game in Tasmania as the island aims to become the league’s 19th team.

The state government’s business case is being examined by former Geelong Cats president and AFL commissioner Colin Carter, with a final report expected mid-July.

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Gold Coast Suns president Tony Cochrane recently drew headlines by saying the AFL can’t afford a 19th franchise “under any circumstances”.

Tasmania’s government is adamant a stand-alone side stacks up financially and have placed on hold negotiations with North Melbourne and Hawthorn to play games in state after this season until the AFL provides a clear answer.

In other Round 14 crowd figures, 6583 people were at GMHBA Stadium to watch Geelong play the Bulldogs, under a 7000 limit.

On Saturday, 7117 watched Gold Coast and Port Adelaide at Metricon Stadium, while the GWS-Carlton fixture at Giants Stadium attracted 7035.

© AAP

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