ON THE day it looked back as it unfurled the spoils of last year's grand final victory, Hawthorn president Andrew Newbold declared his club has one eye on the future and is ready to work with Will Hodgman's Liberal government in a bid to extend the club's stay in Tasmania.
Newbold yesterday used his president's speech at the prematch function to the opening round encounter with Brisbane at Launceston's Aurora Stadium to send the message to Mr Hodgman that a change of government would not alter the club's commitment to the state.
"We're keen to work with Will and the government on how we can deliver on our side of our contract, and hopefully continue that contract into the future," Newbold said.
"That's something we're very focused on, and something we'll be looking to do with Will in the near future."
Yesterday's game marked the official start of the third year of the current five-year agreement between the Hawks and the state government, which sees the club play four home and away games in Launceston.
It is a deal that costs the state government $3 million a year.
We're keen to work with Will and the government on how we can deliver on our side of our contract, and hopefully continue that contract into the futureHawthorn president Andrew Newbold
Newbold paid tribute to former premier Lara Giddings.
"On behalf of Hawthorn I want to thank Lara Giddings and her former government for the work that we collectively did to promote the game of AFL in the state of Tasmania and equally for taking Tasmania to the mainland, which we both did jointly and we are very proud of."
Newbold also touched on the topic of free agency, the vehicle which allowed Lance Franklin to leave the club, as the Hawks officially began life post-Buddy.
"We do wish him [Franklin] all the best.
"But I think as football followers generally, we're going to have to get used to having mixed emotions, where with free agency, one season they're going to be playing with us and the next season they're going to be playing with someone else.
"They are the sort of changes [in football] that we're going to have to get used to."