The Roar
The Roar



The AFL must ensure Tasmania has their own identity

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
Roar Pro
3rd May, 2023

After years of endless campaigning, those efforts have finally resulted in Tasmania securing an AFL license to commence in 2027. 

Earlier this week, all 18 AFL club presidents voted unanimously to allow a 19th team to enter the competition in the next expansion stage. 

Unlike the additions of GWS and Gold Coast over a decade ago, this decision to build a team in the south island seems to have all the makings of potential success. 

A population of over 500,000 means that Tasmania would be the smallest state to own a club, but that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.

Two of the biggest rival codes in the form of NRL and the A-League are yet to tap into the Tasmanian market, representing a golden opportunity to exploit and offer both footy and sporting lovers of the state something to cherish truly. 

The establishment of the Tasmania JackJumpers in the NBL has proven to be a popular drawcard so far, albeit containing a stadium capacity in Hobart of 4,800. Demand for basketball at the grassroots level has gone through the roof thanks to a 46 percent increase in the number of players wanting to participate in the sport.

For this particular project, it feels like there’s more of a plan behind it compared to other expansions which we are still yet to see full potential maximised.

LAUNCESTON, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 01: Griffin Logue of the Kangaroos is tackled by Tyler Brockman of the Hawks during the round three AFL match between Hawthorn Hawks and North Melbourne Kangaroos at University of Tasmania Stadium, on April 01, 2023, in Launceston, Australia. (Photo by Steve Bell/Getty Images)

Griffin Logue is tackled by Tyler Brockman in Launceston. (Photo by Steve Bell/Getty Images)


To the AFL’s credit, they’re handling the process with mature caution, allowing the Tasmanian club to enter in four years’ time and not rushing straight into proceedings. 

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed $240 million in federal funding towards a brand new 23,000-seat stadium with a roof located in Hobart off the waters of Macquarie Point. This is a reasonable stadium size for a new club, creating the best facilities to propel them forward.

Ultimately, whatever steps the AFL decide to take next, it must ensure Tasmania is coveted with an identity as a focal point. 

That begins with being recognised with a well-suited name like the ‘Tasmania Devils’ and sticking with their traditional colours of green, yellow, and maroon.

Tassie has an advantage compared to the likes of the Giants and the Suns in that they have pieces of history to cling onto and have already made a big contribution to the league ever since the late 1800s when they participated in Origin rivalries as well as hosted games up in Launceston.

There’s been a few suggestions popping up for a potential merger between Tasmania and a current club such as North Melbourne which has undoubtedly struggled to attract a strong fan base who have their own identity issues to solve.


For Tasmania’s sake, this can’t happen. For this project to fully take flight, they need to move away from that and build their own identity, which includes starting with some Tasmanian-grown players and maybe a coach and a CEO from the region who understands the area and youth set-up. 

Financially, the AFL will provide its fair share of assistance to get them off the ground. In saying that, they need to be able to stand on their own two feet or else they shouldn’t be in the competition just for expansion’s sake. Look at how the extra benefits handed out to the Suns have worked out for them over the years.

Not one single finals appearance coupled with the embarrassing crowd attendance has resulted in their status in the competition being clouded in doubt and coming under question time and time again.

In Tasmania’s case, they already have an identity and plans in place to start growing their brand in a blink of an eye.

After years of repeated rejections while falling agonisingly short in the race with the two most recently developed clubs, will Tassie prove Andrew Demetriou wrong and show the AFL that they’ve ignored a hidden gem all this time?