FORMER premier Paul Lennon says Tasmania must capitalise on the two AFL sides already playing in the state, rather than getting distracted by pursuing a team of its own.
Mr Lennon, who in 2008 led an unsuccessful bid for a Tasmanian team, told The Examiner he could no longer see the justification for establishing a new side.
"What we've spent this past decade is what we should build on," he said.
"We will be best served by having two teams operating out of the state, and should be concentrating on building on a fierce intrastate rivalry."
Opposition Leader Bryan Green has proposed a summit including sporting, media and political heavyweights to map out a plan for a single, stand-alone Tasmanian AFL side.
Economist Saul Eslake said the state should be planning for its own club, while former Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett said Tasmania's best chance would be in luring a Victorian team.
But Mr Lennon said locking in four Tasmanian games a season for both Hawthorn and North Melbourne was the most achievable and best outcome possible for the state.
He wants the AFL to focus on cultivating a North-South rivalry between the sides through an annual derby.
"I think the AFL should roster the two sides to play each other in Tasmania each year at alternative ends of the state," he said. "The teams would jump at the opportunity; it would create a permanent increase in membership for both sides and underpin them financially."
Meanwhile, Launceston mayor Albert van Zetten said the state must not lose sight of ongoing negotiations between the government and Hawthorn.
He said the existing deal had created huge economic benefits, driven largely by mainland footy fans visiting the state.
"Let's not forget that we are privileged to have Hawthorn, one of the best AFL teams in the competition, playing in this state, right here in Northern Tasmania," he said.