Council's fight for Hawthorn gathers support

THE state government says it does not want to lose any Hawthorn games and will work with all stakeholders to keep the matches, as the Launceston City Council goes into battle to retain at least four games in the North.

The council this week said it feared the AFL was pushing for a new arrangement that would reduce the number of games played at Aurora Stadium from four to three when the existing $15 million state government sponsorship deal with Hawthorn expires in 2016.

The council has been in discussions with Hawthorn and the state government about renewing the existing deal and believes both parties are supportive.

The state government yesterday confirmed its support, but said it would not provide running commentary on matters subject to ongoing discussion.

 ``Discussions about the future of AFL in Tasmania are ongoing and constructive,'' a state government spokeswoman said.

``We will continue to work with the AFL and other stakeholders to ensure Tasmanians are able to watch matches in our home state.

``We need to make sure we don't lose the Hawthorn and North Melbourne games we currently have while ultimately working towards our aim for our own team,'' she said.

The council and Hawthorn have commissioned Price Waterhouse Cooper to assess the social and economic return of AFL games in the North to bolster its case that cutting a game would economically and socially devastate the region.

The AFL did not wish to comment yesterday and also said it would not provide running commentary on the discussions.

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