THE Launceston City Council believes securing a fifth Hawthorn AFL match a season is needed to kill off the push for another team to replace it in the state.
A possible fifth Hawks roster match at Aurora Stadium was a carrot when the latest five-year AFL deal was announced in November 2010, but was dependent on the league scheduling 12 home games for Hawthorn, which it has not done.
The fifth-game clause would only be activated if the home and away season was extended or extra clubs were introduced, both of which are extremely unlikely.
Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said the option would be preferable to the eight-match North-South proposal involving a less successful and less supported club - probably North Melbourne - which is being peddled by AFL Tasmania.
``There are some major risks for Launceston under this sort of approach,'' he said.
``Chief among them is that North Melbourne is unlikely to be able to engender the same sort of popularity among the Tasmanian community that Hawthorn has done.
``A major economic benefit of the current arrangement has come from the number of interstate Hawthorn fans who are willing to travel to Launceston to support their club.
``North Melbourne's membership is significantly less than Hawthorn's, meaning there are likely to be less interstate visitors travelling to Tasmanian AFL games.''
Average Melbourne crowds during recent North Melbourne games have been less than half of average crowds at Hawthorn games.
``I believe such a trend would be substantially replicated if Hawthorn games in Launceston were to be replaced with North Melbourne games, or another club's games,'' he said.
Alderman van Zetten will move a motion at Monday's council meeting seeking to secure the future of AFL games at Aurora Stadium, along with a fifth Hawthorn roster match from next season.
``I propose that the council formally approaches Hawthorn seeking the addition of a fifth home and away match at Aurora Stadium,'' he said.
If aldermen agree to the proposal, the council would write to the AFL, AFL Tasmania, Hawthorn, the state government and Hobart City Council to seek their support.
Alderman van Zetten said the Hawthorn arrangement injected $16 million a year into Launceston's economy.
``The Hawthorn arrangement has served Launceston extremely well, and has provided major social and economic benefits to our region,'' he said.
``Substituting one preseason and four home and away Hawthorn matches at Aurora Stadium with four North Melbourne matches would deliver a significant economic loss for Launceston and Northern Tasmania.''
Average crowd figures at Hawthorn's Launceston fixtures have already dropped significantly since the Kangaroos began playing home games at Bellerive Oval.
Ironically, the mayor's call comes as Hawthorn and North Melbourne prepare to play each other at Etihad Stadium tomorrow.