New AFL boss admits plan for state challenging

ON his first day as the man in charge of the AFL, new chief executive Gillon McLachlan yesterday admitted that his one-team plan for Tasmania is ``challenging'', but he believes that is ultimately what the football public in this state wants.

New AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan and AFL Commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick speak to the media.   Picture: GETTY IMAGES

New AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan and AFL Commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick speak to the media. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

McLachlan was yesterday steadfast in his belief that there should be just the one team in the state playing games at both Launceston's Aurora Stadium and Hobart's Bellerive Oval, which he believes would help provide a ``clear future for what is happening in Tasmania''.

``My vision for Tasmania is we have a one-state approach that means the North and the South working together coming behind one team,'' he said yesterday in his first press conference as one of the most powerful men in Australian sport.

``Whether that is possible is a very challenging conversation, but that is what Tasmanians ultimately want is their own team and that's an aspiration.

``The challenges are there for everyone to see.

``If Hawthorn want to continue playing in Launceston, that is their decision, and if the Kangaroos want to continue playing in Hobart that is their decision.

``If they don't want to play in those two towns, that is their decision.''

The 40-year-old's direction for the state, which he unveiled when AFL Tasmania officially came under the control of the AFL earlier this month, has drawn surprise from both Hawthorn and North Melbourne officials about whether the concept would be viable for the state.

Hawthorn has played home games in Launceston since 2001, with the Hawks playing four home and away games a season and North has been in Hobart since 2012, playing two a year, and hoping to up that to three from next year.

As well as reiterating his vision for Tasmania, McLachlan also again declared the competition would not expand for at least five to 10 years, until the expansion teams (Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney) are bedded down and made it clear his intent was to make the AFL a ``truly national'' competition.

McLachlan replaces Andrew Demetriou, who will finish up with the AFL on June 5.

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