AFL Tasmania chief executive Rob Auld launched the 2017 Tasmanian football season with a TSL captains’ day in Hobart on Monday.
Coaches or captains from the nine TSL clubs were in attendance for the season launch with the 2016 premiership flag presented to Glenorchy coach Aaron Cornelius.
Auld said the health of the game was strong in the state for a code that has a long and rich history and AFL Tasmania’s goal was to unite and grow the sport for years to come.
“Over 40,000 people are now involved in football in Tasmania the first time we have broken through that number,” he said.
“Whilst we are fully aware of the need to continue to grow the game at grassroots and create a solid foundation for the next 10 to 20 years.
“We want to see vibrant competitions, football being the sport of choice and a sport connected to communities with strong and growing partnerships – these are the pillars we are building the future of Tassie football on.”
TSL general manager Carl Saunder said that under their “Best Talent Premier Competition” banner the state league would see a number of new initiatives including live streaming one game each week and a twilight grand final for the first time.
“We have a terrific group of young coaches with the majority with the majority of them having recently played at the top level of the AFL or similar and they bring a huge amount of expertise and experience to our competition,” Saunder said.
Tasmanian Football Council general manager Jackson Hills also launched the 2017 season in community football across 12 leagues statewide.
“Community football reaches over 40,000 participants in Tasmania, across three regions, 150 clubs and 250 teams,” Hills said.
Hills said that 2017 would also see significant steps in women's football in the state with three new regional competitions commencing in 2017 and a revamped state league competition model linked to the TSL clubs. The Auskick program will undergo changes alongside the launch of the Next Generation Schools in partnership with North Melbourne.
“Our leagues and clubs continue to find challenges around sustainability and competition equalisation,” he said.