Tasmania is the “Bangladesh of the AFL” according to a furious State League president who feels the national body continues to treat the state with contempt.
Despite saying on Wednesday that he would visit Hobart by the end of this month, AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan is yet to confirm a date – weeks after signalling his intentions to kick-start a working group into Tasmania’s football woes.
McLachlan said he did not want to visit during the state election, however, North Launceston president Thane Brady said a perceived lack of interest from the game’s highest administrator was concerning.
It has been two weeks since TSL clubs held crisis talks with AFL Tasmania and Brady said he is still waiting for the next step of an announced review into the Future Directions of Tasmanian Football report compiled by Simon Garlick.
“Significant examination work has already been undertaken, firstly through Simon Garlick in early 2016 and secondly through former CEO Rob Auld’s listening tour thereafter,” Brady said.
“We submitted a discussion paper with options based on the amount of funding the AFL would contribute in developing talent programs including the graduation school that is the TSL.
“It’s a very simple determination that is required to be made here by the AFL – confirm the funding model then let us get on with it.
“If the AFL wants Tassie’s development program to continue to be the Bangladesh of the AFL, then we will continue to do our best in the knowledge our talented kids are disadvantaged compared to those in northern states and we will have to accept players and their families will leave our state similar to what the Titmus family had to do with a talented swimmer (Ariarne) in the family.”
McLachlan said his trip to Hobart would likely follow next week’s AFL board meeting and the season launch on March 22.
However, Brady said that wasn’t good enough.
“It’s already been a few weeks since the announcement,” he said.
“Perhaps Gill has looked over the AFL budget for Tassie and is now waiting for the $29 flights to be available and for the peak tourist season to finish so he can score a discounted room?”
Brady will catch up with AFL Tasmania chief executive Trish Squires soon as part of her plan to meet with all seven TSL club presidents.
Brady said he has no knowledge of the working group’s committee members or how they will be selected.
McLachlan, who said a Tasmanian team is not a short or medium term possibility, plans to meet with Premier Will Hodgman.
“I committed to wait until the election was over to go to Tasmania – I think everyone understands that's fair and appropriate,” McLachlan said.
“Our focus at the moment – getting youth and community football working in Tasmania again.
“We think there should be one team representing all Tasmanians, but acknowledge the challenges in that, with Hawthorn in the North and North Melbourne in the South."