A SUGGESTION from former Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett that the reigning AFL premier should relocate to Launceston received a cautious welcome from the city council yesterday.
There was less enthusiasm within football circles for the outspoken former Victorian premier's latest radical proposal which came as the future of AFL matches at both ends of Tasmania comes under increasing scrutiny.
On Wednesday, North Melbourne chief executive Carl Dilena was prompted to publicly deny that a new proposal to bring AFL football to Ballarat could lure the Roos away from Hobart.
North's three-year contract to play two games a year at Bellerive Oval expires at the end of this season while Hawthorn's four-games-a-year sponsorship deal with the Tasmanian government runs to the end of 2016.
Mr Kennett stoked up the debate on Melbourne's 3AW radio station, saying the Hawks had outlived their Waverley Park complex and should move to Launceston.
``Launceston as a location has not only the Aurora Stadium, it has another one behind it. I would build new facilities there,'' Mr Kennett said.
``It would give us the privacy we want, access to the best ground to train on and we're already playing four games there.
``[The players] could rent out their houses [in Melbourne] and buy new properties in Launceston so financially they would do well.
``I think that would be the cheapest and most exciting option. I'm not sure that the board would agree with me [but] when you think it through clearly it could be the opportunity of a lifetime.''
The club's standpoint was best revealed by its decision not to respond to a request for comment while both AFL Tasmania and the Launceston City Council indicated the move across Bass Strait was very unlikely.
``Jeff has always been a man who thinks outside the box and he's never been afraid to state an opinion,'' Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said.
``We're keen to work with Hawthorn in any way possible, and I think it's good Jeff has recognised the standard of Aurora Stadium and some of the benefits of relocating to Launceston.
``But obviously Hawthorn moving would be an enormous step, and it's probably not all that likely. What we are keen for, at the end of the day, is more AFL in Launceston and we'll continue to work with others to make that happen.''