AFL 2017: Call for North Melbourne to relocate to Tasmania

ROO TIME: Jarrad Waite celebrates a goal in Hobart against Adelaide in round 7. Picture: Getty Images

ROO TIME: Jarrad Waite celebrates a goal in Hobart against Adelaide in round 7. Picture: Getty Images

North Melbourne relocating to Tasmania has been put back on the football agenda thanks to Footy Classified co-host Craig Hutchison, with the AFL on Tuesday saying “everything is a possibility”.

Hutchison used the Channel Nine football program on Monday night to express his view on the Kangaroos calling Tasmania their permanent football home in the wake of the low crowd for their Friday night home game against St Kilda.

Just 26,107 people were at Etihad Stadium in what was also a celebration night for retired great Brent Harvey.

“It is time North Melbourne to have a deeper and serious look at Tasmania, because that for me is the greater opportunity for their footy club without actually compromising their supporter base,’’ Hutchinson said.

“I think they are in an unbelievable position if you leave emotion out to get the best of both worlds.”

Hutchison proposed that the club has a permanent training base in Hobart and play nine games in Tasmania [five at Blundstone Arena and four at UTas Stadium], nine in Melbourne and four interstate.

He also believed the club’s women’s team should be permanently based in Tasmania.

Hutchison said the current set-up in the state, which sees Hawthorn play four games in Launceston and North three in Hobart was “flawed”.

Those deals expire in 2021.

AFL general manager of football operations Simon Lethlean  responded to the calls on SEN Radio on Tuesday saying it wasn’t something that was on the immediate agenda for the league.

TASSIE HOME: North Melbourne and Adelaide clash at Bellerive Oval in round 7. Picture: Getty Images

TASSIE HOME: North Melbourne and Adelaide clash at Bellerive Oval in round 7. Picture: Getty Images

“[But] everything is a possibility,” he said.

“Our preferred model probably is one team in Tassie, but we’ve also been pretty clear too that there are two clubs there at the moment with five-year deals to play matches and that’s not changing any time soon.

“It’s one for three, four, five years time to discuss and see where clubs are situated.”

AFL Tasmania chief executive Rob Auld said: "Craig Hutchison's creativity and innovation is well known but my reaction to his recent thinking is that we have a commitment to the AFL clubs playing football in Tasmania, and the current deals that are in place until 2021.

"It is absolutely not our place to comment on matters specific to AFL clubs.

"However, as demonstrated by the recent AFLW submissions we will continue to work to getting the best outcomes for Tasmania, bringing Tasmania closer to the national competition.

"It is pleasing how Tasmania continues to be a part of the national conversation."

But the state government has knocked the idea on the head.

“The AFL will never be a truly national competition until Tasmania has its own team,’’ acting premier Jeremy Rockliff said.

“Tasmania is a proud football state and the government continues to believe that the AFL won't be a truly national competition until we have our team.”

North Melbourne declined to comment on the matter.

The story The Tassie Roos? “Everything is a possibility” says AFL first appeared on The Advocate.

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