The man charged with setting up Tasmania’s first ever top-flight football team says a playing list equally comprising Victorian and Tasmanian players is an achievable goal.
Scott Gowans, who performed coaching roles at AFLW, VFLW and national under-18 level this year, was appointed to the job two weeks ago and will coach the North-affiliated Melbourne Uni in the VFLW in 2018 before the North Melbourne Tasmania Kangaroos join the AFLW in 2019.
The former Carlton assistant coach said while it might take some time, it was realistic that Tasmanians could eventually fill half his playing list.
“I think it’d be amazing and I think it’s very achievable - it’s just going to come down to who nominates for the draft next year and what we notice over the next AFLW season,” Gowans told The Examiner.
“We’d very much like to get some Tasmanian players on the list, that’s absolutely the goal but at the same time it’s (also) getting Victorian players - it’s really doing what’s right for the North Melbourne Football Club and Tasmania.
“If it doesn’t work out this year and it takes an extra year or two to get some really good talent and get the list 50-50 it takes that time – there’s no time frames on it, but our focus is not so much saying ‘you’re from Tasmania, you’re from Victoria’, it’s combining it as one product and doing it that way.”
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Gowans has already met with AFL Tasmania talent manager Jy Bond and plans to eventually visit the state on a regular basis - both with his team and to help out with the club’s Tasmania-based academy.
While Daria Bannister was on the radar and Courtney Webb arrived at the Blues just before Gowans departed, the ex-Diamond Creek coach is planning to become a lot more familiar with Tasmania’s football landscape before his side plays its first game in the state in 2019.
“We had vision (of players) and things like that and we went to the combine and watched a few of the athletes from Tasmania there, but I haven’t really had a good look outside of maybe the top 10 or 12 Tasmanian players.
“That’s really what I want to do between now and Christmas is get my head around all the talent down there.”
The AFLW will remain an eight-team competition in 2018 before the Kangaroos and Geelong enter the pool in 2019.
Gowans said the chance to build a top-flight club from scratch was a “unique situation”.
“With my Carlton role I got the unique opportunity to help build a team from the ground up - right from painting the walls to helping select lists - and now I’ve got an opportunity to do that again so it’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“I’m super excited and particularly with the Tasmanian component, I’m really excited about that.”