The Roar
The Roar


Tradition comes up trumps: Why the Tasmania Devils are perfect for the AFL

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
Roar Rookie
19th March, 2024

From my perspective, there has been far less excitement and anticipation around the revelation of the name, colours and logo of the AFL’s newest team than last time. Regardless of how good or bad I think their branding is, there just weren’t any surprises to be found. But it isn’t really about me, is it?

The fact is, the Tasmania Devils will truly represent a state in a way we have never quite seen before. The original moves in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia came with expansionist and monopolistic intent, but the move to Tassie is a little more quaint.

The state and the team will most likely be a serious boon for the AFL, but they already own much of the sporting market there. As such, the AFL doesn’t need Tasmania, but after the state has been forced to bend over backwards to earn themselves a team, it seems the team will very much be Tasmania’s team. Exactly how they want it.

The name reveal was so obvious it was barely worth noting. It certainly would’ve been odd for the AFL to fight a legal battle for the rights to use the name, and then not use it. Let’s be honest though, they were never going to be called anything else. Just a slightly tedious point though: the temptation to call them the “Tasmanian Devils” will be too tempting for most people. So prepare yourself for that. Don’t forget, you still hear the occasional commentator say “The GWS”; a nonsensical and inexplicable thing even 12 years ago.

Anyway, predictability and tradition won out. Again, the new jumper is not exactly an inspired choice, nor is it even a particularly inspiring design, albeit probably a slightly more prototypical version than they will likely play their first game in.

But let’s be honest: what else were they going to wear? There is (presumably) no danger of Tasmania ever getting a second team, so it made sense for their identity to encompass everything Tasmanian footy. Their identity comes from their tradition as underdogs with a passion for the game. The ‘Map’ jumper represents that spirit in its entirety.


Whilst I’m not so much on the generic “Tassie deserved a team more than Gold Coast and Western Sydney” bandwagon – not because it is necessarily untrue, but because such points are redundant in an expansionist business – I am more than happy to see the state represented. They have an identity four years before playing a game. Gold Coast’s and GWS’s jumpers (despite their nice colours) still look like they were designed on a 2007 PlayStation 2 game.

I guess the point is, whilst I’m glad the previous AFL expansion happened first because I have no issue with the AFL trying to harvest fertile ground, the Tassie move is a little more exciting for rusted-on AFL fans like myself. Whilst as a Geelong supporter, it is perhaps my moral obligation to ‘hate’ Hawthorn, or for a Collingwood fan to ‘hate’ Carlton and so on, there is a certain inescapable respect for traditional clubs, and just footy tradition in general.

DEVONPORT, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 18: The Tasmania Devils Foundation jumper is revealed during the Tasmania Football Club Launch at Paranaple Convention Centre on March 18, 2024 in Devonport, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

The Tasmania Devils foundation jumper is revealed. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Tassie feels more in line with that sense of tradition, and given footy tradition has been almost entirely encapsulated by the AFL, it’s quite a novelty to see a new AFL team coming in that doesn’t actually feel like a novelty. Personally, I can’t wait.

Bring on 2028.