Richmond premiership player and media personality Rex Hunt has thrown his weight behind the push for a Tasmanian AFL side, calling the issue a “no-brainer”.
Speaking alongside fellow former sporting greats in Olympian Steven Bradbury, Test bowler Jeff Thomson and racing legend Malcolm Johnston at Evandale Football Club’s sporting luncheon, Hunt said he didn’t agree with claims that there was insufficient business support to sustain a Tasmanian team.
“Tasmania is a state of Australia - what on earth is wrong with them?” Hunt said.
“You’ve seen the success of North Melbourne in Hobart, you’ve seen the great success of the Launceston Hawks, to my mind I think Tasmania should have AFL football if not every week then every second week and thousands would flock here.
“Just have a look at the memberships, I think it’s just a no-brainer.”
The two-time Richmond premiership player said a state team would undoubtedly get more young Tasmanians playing the game.
“I’m not quite so certain how junior football is coming here (but) you would see more kids playing for their favourite teams in little leagues - give a kid something to aspire to and you’ve got no problems.”
Doubling as a celebration of Evandale’s 125th anniversary, the event attracted more than 200 to Country Club Tasmania for a rare insight into the lives of some of the country’s most recognisable sportsmen.
Bradbury, who is best remembered for winning gold at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, performed admirably as MC, mixing the amusing with the motivational.
Between giving live training demonstrations and allowing his gold medal to freely circulate around the room, the 43-year-old found time to inspire those in the room to pursue their passions.
“When you have a sportsperson (speak) you know they’re going to tell you their story, but you’re not quite sure if they’re going to be entertaining or not and I like to think that I am.
“The main message from me is that passion, persistence and teamwork will lead to success in whatever you do.
“If you’re able to derive a lot of personal satisfaction along the way because you did in business what they call the one percenters...if you put those good ideas into practice you start to get that adrenaline rolling around in your stomach and it doesn’t feel like work anymore.”